Key Points:



(Def Jam)


Herald rating

: 4/5


: He's bringin' sexy back to R&B

Terius "the Dream" Nash is the baby-faced, baby-voiced producer who co-wrote Rihanna's


. And he doesn't want us to forget it, inserting "eh eh"s and "ella ella"s throughout his debut album as though they're part of a dialect; the best use of vowel sounds is on

Livin' A Lie

with the star herself. Elsewhere it becomes a bit of a running joke, as do all the references to various "shawties", (single

Shawty is Da Sh*!

among them) he likes to take home.

But the Dream's closest relationship is with his synthesisers. There's really no telling if he can actually sing. It could be that his boyish voice has been filtered through his studio machines, sharing frequency with beats that remain interesting enough not to fall into monotony.

Slow jam


is the best contender for a number one, grabbing a vocal motif that sounds like it belongs on a U2 song and twisting it into a sexually-charged homage to Prince, complete with searing electric guitars.

It's one of few tracks that sound as though the edges haven't been chiselled away completely. So is

Ditch That

, where Nash channels Missy Elliott.

Perhaps when he starts spending as much time on his lyrical themes as his beats his career as a serious producer will go from a dream to reality. Until then, enjoy this guilty pleasure for what it is.