Scott McMullon reviews the newest album from West End star Louise Dearman.
West End starlet Louise Dearman hit the scene with her second album earlier this month, and we finally got around to listening to the unique and elegant vocals of the lovely lady, who we also had the chance to chat to last week. A long standing alumnus of the West End stage, Dearman has performed as some of theatre’s most iconic leads, including Glinda the Good in Wicked and Eva Peron in Evita. However, far from being a medley of musical tracks, we are in fact given a tracklist of Dearman’s personal favorites, all of which are arranged and presented with her characteristically clear and pure vocals.
At first glance, Here Comes the Sun does not seem to push the envelope, or deliver anything new to the eager listener; with a list of tracks that have been done before, and some already done better, how could we find anything new to fall in love with? Yet, when detractors put aside their concerns and give this album a fair chance they are in for a pleasant surprise as they find more than just a karaoke rehash of some of the best songs of the last 30 years. Dearman is able to arrange each song in her own special way which does manage to give each song a new and delicate hook which pulls us in, almost without fail.
The whole experience of listening to this album put us in mind of ITV’s series An Audience with… and we can practically see ourselves in an intimate little auditorium with this delightful little ball of talent singing her heart out to us. This sense of intimacy gives the album a special veneer of high quality and performance, and hearkens back to a classic era before music became predominantly factory-produced pap. Every song is dripping with emotion and a feeling from an experienced performer – ‘Gravity’ in particular is a high point for us where her final high notes make us want to give Dearman a standing ovation. Likewise, her slow and delicate rendition of ‘Time after Time’, while not being quite on par with the Cyndi Lauper version, does still manage to be special and well-presented.
Sadly, there are some issues which stop us from falling head over heels in love. The reinterpretation of the classics is well done, but the lack of original music is a bit disheartening. For such a talented singer with such terrific range we would like to see her do some of her own songs, and truly realise her talents in a new and dynamic way. There are also some tracks which don’t have the same quality and polish as the others, with songs like ‘Squander’ and ‘Uninvited’ feeling like pretty weak offerings.
Altogether, Here Comes the Sun shows Dearman’s amazing range, and you can feel that she gave her all with this album. However, next time we want to hear some original music to show us just how good she is.
Go Get It: ‘Here Comes the Sun’; ‘Gravity’
Forget It: ‘Squander’