STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 122708-18902 LABEL: RCA FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
When Rebecca lost out to Matt Cardle on the X Factor in 2010 she could easily have put together a quickly recorded album of soul music covers. After all, her TV version of Adele's "Make You Fell My Love" and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" were stunning. But instead Rebecca took the hard road and got down to writing her own material and when 'Heaven' was released in December last year had the satisfaction of seeing it shoot high into the UK album charts. It deserves every sale and I would suggest that Rebecca is the finest new singing talent to emerge on the pop scene in the last few years. The producers Eg White (Adele), Wayne Hector (Westlife) and Fraser T Smith (James Morrison) have avoided the temptation to over embellish, a tendency which drags down the arrangements of much modern R&B while similarly Rebecca avoids the displays of tiresome melisma which clog up a lot of lesser divas' work. Instead, the tinkling chords, plaintive cello and dramatic melodic swell on "Teach Me How To Be Loved" are the perfect background for Rebecca's rich and husky vocal while the rolling piano and surging strings of "Shoulder To Shoulder" are as good as anything concocted for Adele. The 25 year old Liverpudlian has had her share of heartaches in her personal life and these are reflected in some of her lyrics but there is also plenty of child-like reverence for love ("No money, no house and no car is like love/It don't fill you up/It won't build you up. . .it's not love") and hints of the transcendent ("Every time you cross my mind/You're like a prayer, a precious sign"). "Fairytale" has a slinky arrangement that sounds like something that could have come out of Philadelphia in the '70s while "Run Free" has a driving snare and delicious funk bassline. But it's that memorable voice - one moment soft and vulnerable, the next harsh and assertive - that continually connects with the listener. A tremendous debut.
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