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Reality bites The Voice's Bo

Album Review: Bo Bruce Before I Sleep (Mercury) **

It says something about the grim homogeny of reality audition shows that a mildly leftfield figure like Bo Bruce would stand out amid all the sound- and lookalikes.

The spiky-haired singer – whose actual name is Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce – eschewed the raunchy clobber of fellow contestants and was arguably the best thing about the underwhelming first series of the UK version of The Voice.

But while her attitude and delivery offered a respite from the vocal gymnastics favoured by the other wannabes, her limitations are cruelly exposed on this debut album.

Far from being a cut above the usual sludge produced by these shows, Bruce's songs – in the main – lack spark, wit and invention. Some will be reminded of the gutsiness and melodies of Irish troubadour Wallis Bird, but this album struggles to resonate nearly as powerfully as the Wexford singer's finest moments.

Still, there are slivers of promise: the catchy lead single, Save Me, has the potential to be ubiquitous on radio, while the similarly commercial Alive – co-written by her Voice mentor, Danny O'Donoghue (of The Script) – is machine-tooled for the arena circuit.

Not that Bo Bruce is anywhere near that scale right now.


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