Marie-Christine may have accomplished something few others have done in convincing Corey Hart to haul out "Sunglasses at Night" and to come out of his musical hibernation, but she doesn't really wear the interpolation well. In fact, "Girl in Shades," the first track on Marie-Christine's debut record, is a little wobbly.
Marie-Christine is Marie-Christine Depestre, a Montreal singer. Her Walk In Beauty is an uneven effort that sparkles with greatness when the beat is right but collapses under the pressure of its samples when things aren't so right.
The 29-year-old vocalist leans a little too much on 80s cheese on tracks like the aforementioned Hart re-working and "Tempted," originally by Squeeze.
But then shit gets good in a hurry with the title track. A slinky, sexy track that hauls in one hell of a bass line, "Walk In Beauty" finally showcases Marie-Christine's vocals. It's too bad that listeners have to wait until the sixth cut to dig in like this, but it's a nice moment nonetheless.
"Silence" follows up the title track with a smooth but overproduced vibe. It sounds an awful lot like a Hart power ballad, but Marie-Christine's voice emerges enough to transform it into something sweet.
The best track on Walk In Beauty includes Stevie Wonder. Yep. Stevie Wonder. "Keep on Running" shifts gears so suddenly and with such immediate funk that it's hard to believe it's on the same album. As cool as the title track was, this one is just on another level altogether. The Haitian-Canadian pops it hard in front of the wailing synth, while backing vocals take us back to simpler times. So awesome.
When Marie-Christine traffics in the soul vibe, it works. "Get Out" draws in more of the same, but her ode to "Port Au Prince" stumbles back into the humdrum mood the majority of Walk In Beauty insists on.
So while there are certain moments of grand greatness, Marie-Christine's debut is too shoddy to recommend. Perhaps she'll thrill us like she can when she shakes off some of her less-than-endearing influences. I'm looking at you, Boy in the Box.