I think I'd be heartbroken if it ever emerged that Beth Ditto 'fixed' her vocals in the way a hefty percentage of vocalists currently do. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with the concept of tweaking the occasional bum note. And, as has been discussed endlessly, auto-tune has become more of a weapon of choice than a beauty aid these days anyway. Artists shamelessly (in the most literal sense of the word) employ it to blur the lines between human and machine. But Ditto is, to dip into the footballing idiom, an actual machine. Her voice hits you like a throat punch. It just has to be all-natural.

Of course, that engine requires a worthy vehicle to carry it, and Fake Sugar has a fairly well stocked garage of just such tunes. If it's a little bit peach fuzz in its weaker moments, stick around for when the big hitters land. The record's attempt to straddle pop and more unconventional indie can be awkward. At least it is ambitious.

At the high end of the spectrum, 'Ooh La La' goes full Debbie; a stonking offbeat chorus matched to a rapped verse that could be Miss Harry herself, such is the vice-like hold she wields on the listener's attention. It almost feels rude to mention the Gossip's one indie mega-hit, but it isn't stretching it to say that this is the 'Standing In The Way of Control' follow-up that never was. 'Go Baby Go' is also driven by the exact kind of plucked bass bomp that impressed that song into the consciousness of a generation of scenesters.

The poppier moments of Fake Sugar, including the title track and the Peter, Bjorn and John-esque 'In and Out of Love' are smoothly constructed and could potentially supply the breakout hit that the album clearly craves. There's a strong sense that Ditto is trying to be all things to all people when this kind of Radio 2-friendly fare sits alongside the rawer, leggy workouts. Fans of Adele and even (gulp) Sophie Ellis-Bextor's more vampish tendencies will fall in love with the broadly indie stylings of 'Savoir Faire', but 'We Could Run' is a bawl too far for me; Kelly Clarkson might be happy to deliver its massive, clean chorus refrain, but something so bland doesn't do justice to Ditto's abilities.

The close of the album veers disappointingly into the mainstream, without a single standout track in the last third. By this point however, Ditto has already proven herself adept at knocking out a memorable mix of the ballsy and the brusque. The majority stays well within its comfort zone, cuddling up to the listener, rather than poking them in the eye. I wouldn’t be amazed if the album produced a moderately-sized hit. It would have been nice to have heard more of the ‘Ooh La La’, and less of the ‘Qui court deux lievres a la fois, n’en prend aucun’; he who attempts to catch two hares at the same time, catches neither.