*** Sarah Cracknell, "Lipslide," Instinct. This debut solo album (in stores Tuesday) demonstrates how much the British group Saint Etienne owes to its glamorous lead singer. A crafty songwriter, Cracknell complements her soothing voice with elegant pop hooks, from the bossa nova guitar of "Oh Boy, the Feeling When You Held My Hand" to the shimmering chorus of "Goldie." Still, the sweeping cinematic vision of Saint Etienne remains the ideal vehicle for Cracknell's diva-esque persona.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.