"Ready Now"

Pookie Entertainment

While there isn't a song on "Ready Now" that is as . . . um, addictive as her breakthrough bhangra-flavored 2002 hit "Addictive," Truth Hurts's latest release is an easy-to-listen-to sophomore effort.

As executive producer, Raphael Saadiq gives this outing a Lucy Pearl sheen in spots, and the other producers who sit in follow suit. The result is a CD full of steady, sultry R&B grooves. Tracks such as "Knock Knock," "Love U Better," "Phone Sex" and "Can't Be Mad" are smooth and skillfully crafted. But the album's strength -- its consistency -- is in a way its biggest flaw. No one song breaks the mold and makes you sit up and say "Whoa, that's special" the way "Addictive" did a couple of years back.

Truth Hurts can sing. "Ready Now" can comfortably bear repeat listening, because there's not a single song on this CD that will have you lunging for the skip button. But they all might cause you to wish she would take a few more chances.

-- Curt Fields

Appearing Saturday at the 9:30 club with Pete Rock and Mr. Cheeks. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Truth Hurts, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8130. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)