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Sia: We Are Born (Monkey Puzzle) 

During Sia's performance at Club Congress back in February 2008, she spoke openly about her struggle with record labels that wanted to pigeonhole her as a "downbeat artist." So it's no surprise that her fifth studio album, We Are Born, finds her on Monkey Puzzle Records (which is still distributed by Some People Have Real Problems' Hear Music). It's also no surprise that it's her most effusive record yet, full of poppy bravado and up-tempo anthems.

In a just universe, our reigning queen of pop would be Sia Furler, not Lady Gaga. They're both edgy, sexual polymorphs with an artsy, off-kilter flair. Sia's not interested in being a sexual fetish object or coy girl-kitten, so perhaps she could never capture the popular imagination Gaga-style. Dominatrix-cyborg beats DayGlo puppet-girl every time. But surely Sia's at least owed a Feist-like level of indie-crossover stardom, which, though she's crept onto the soundtracks of glitzy nighttime soaps and big-budget Hollywood movies, hasn't really happened yet.

We Are Born could be the album to bring her into the consciousness of a wider audience. It's a wonderful pop album and it's been namedropped by the likes of Adam Lambert in the press. "Bring Night" is a dizzying, irresistible call-to-arms; "Clap Your Hands" zips from fervent ballad to club banger and back again.

Two albums ago, Sia was Morrissey's daughter. Now she's more like Prince's soul sister, and you gotta love that.

More by Sean Bottai

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