Polish Pop--No Joke : Check List ****<i> Great Balls of Fire</i> ***<i> Good Vibrations</i> **<i> Maybe Baby</i> *<i> Running on Empty </i>
***BASIA. “Time and Tide.” Epic. Poland isn’t necessarily the country you’d expect to produce someone with a talent for writing jazz-shaded R&B;/pop, and the ability to sing it in a voice resembling an ‘80s-style Astrud Gilberto. As far-fetched as it sounds, Polish-born, London-based Basia (pronounced “BA-sha”) covers that kind of ground and does it in a way that makes her debut album one of the classiest efforts from a female artist since Sade’s “Diamond Life” in 1985.
There are singers who seem to sing for the sheer pleasure of it, and Basia’s cheery, slightly nasal (but not unpleasantly so) soprano on the soulfully breezy “Promises” or the optimistic “New Day for You” can convince you that she belongs in this category. Other noteworthy tracks are “Astrud,” a bossa nova-shaded tribute to Gilberto, the title cut with its lush harmonies and “How Dare You,” on which she musters a blustery, hands-on-her-hips bravado. Don’t mess with this girl.