THEESatisfaction's SassyBlack has created her most "intentional" album to date (her own words). In doing so, she has sacrificed much of the nutty charm that drove her previous project into uncharted, exciting territories. Instead we get a plainer, more predictable collection of laidback, late 80s-inflected R'n'B.

Substituting sensory overload for smooth eroticism, New Black Swing aims to be an updating of its almost-namesake genre, blessed by acts like SWV, Arrested Development and Bobby Brown. Unfortunately it's hard to escape the impression that Sassy isn't having nearly enough fun to ape a genre that was, above all else, sexy and riotous. On tracks like 'Passion Paradise' she gets closer to the early 2000's coffee table jazz R'n'B of Morcheeba. Not in itself a catastrophe, but some miles south of where she is aiming.

Sassy has the kind of voice that is sometimes called soulful, but which in truth often comes across as mechanical. Her delivery on tracks like 'Satisfied' is so measured as to suggest a talented backing vocalist inappropriately promoted to front and centre stage. The charm of her previous work lay largely within the juxtaposition of her lyricism and a fruity musical accompaniment that liked to alternatively slither and explode. New Black Swing has a few nice couplets and at least attempts to have some fun with rap and spoken word, but too often reverts to smoother foundations.

'I'll Wait For You' showcases a little of Sassy's dexterity in its repeated double-time rap interludes, but rather than going for the throat and the kind of noisy relevance that THEESatisfaction intermittently managed, the grooves are sanded down almost into inconsequence. There's a famous saying about architecture - a building is only finished when you can no longer find anything to take away from it. This record needs a lot more stuff.

'What We Gonna Do' begins with just the right kind of funky, surreal melody that you would expect on a post-Yeezus New Jack Swing record. As far as highlights go, its rapped middle section is dynamic and (finally) fun. 'Watching You' follows with a flirty, spoken word introduction. By this point, however, it feels rather like cold comfort.

I would suggest that the genre this record seeks to revive and refresh already lives on, albeit mostly in the mainstream. If the fun-time pop of Bruno Mars and Uptown Funk isn't a direct translation of Teddy Riley and Paula Abdul's progeny, then I'm a pineapple. SassyBlack, in seeking to claim genre ground for herself, has ended up producing an unsatisfying misstep. There’s undoubtedly a great bizarro new jack swing record out there still waiting to be made.