Dido had created a buzz even before her debut album, "No Angel," was released in June, thanks to her guest vocals with England's trip-house band Faithless, her contribution to the "Sliding Doors" soundtrack, and a swell of pre-release publicity orchestrated by Arista's Clive Davis. That publicity has compared Dido to the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Sinead O'Connor, and "No Angel" does echo the siren vocals and dreamy popscapes of those artists. Unfortunately, it also echoes their new-age vagueness and narcissistic angst.
London's Dido is a classically trained singer and keyboardist, but she's also the kid sister of Rollo, the influential DJ/producer who oversees Faithless. The siblings co-wrote six of the songs on "No Angel" and co-produced much of the disc as well. She provides the swooning, slow-motion vocal melodies and lyrics that are summed up by the couplet, "I don't want to call my friends; they might wake me from this dream." Rollo provides the lush layers of synthesizers and the percolating microchip beats.
The result can be described either as a techno update of the female singer-songwriter tradition or as a humanization of the house-music scene, but it can also be dismissed as too much like aural wallpaper to be remembered one way or the other.
Appearing Thursday at the 9:30 club.
To hear a free Sound Bite from Dido, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8122. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)