My, what a hotbed of talent the Neighbours casting couch is these days! hot on the heels of Nathalie Bassingthwaighte's success with her band Rogue Traders, here's yet another Australian soap export. This time it's the turn of Stephanie McIntosh, otherwise known as feisty teenage single mum, Sky Mangel. Steph also has more than just the support of her Neighbours - she is the half-sister of none other than Jason Donovan. Brilliant.
The same cannot be said of her music, unfortunately. Although this album opens with an Avril Lavigne-esque tune called 'So Do I Say Sorry First?' which in a kind of teen-angsty, 'rock out in your bedroom after a fight with your parents' way is pretty OK, the rest of the record leaves a lot to be desired.
Steph's voice isn't bad, it's just not very memorable or interesting. She can carry a tune and has a nice soft quality to her vocal, but you feel like you're listening to a good singer who's been given a day in a recording studio as a present, rather than a future star in the making. It's just very ordinary. She's not helped by the fact that practically every song follows the same formula - the pop standard of introduction of melody, soft voice building up to a crescendo at one minute in when the big orchestra sound kicks in, repeat for verse two and then stay big for long drawn out second chorus until the end, when you go back to the quiet voice and melody. This would all be fine - if it didn't happen like clockwork on every song. The tracks are also all about thirty seconds too long which makes you want to flick forward all the time - not a good sign.
'God Only Knows' is a little more enticing, going back to the rockier flavour of the opener, but again, it's just not really very stimulating. 'The Night Of My Life' is quite a nice ballad with a pretty tune but there's nothing groundbreaking or modern-sounding about it - in fact, the whole album sounds a bit like something that should have come out when B*Witched and The Corrs were selling ballads by the bucket load back in the nineties.
If I had to sum Tightrope up in three words, they would be bland, boring and banal. Sorry Steph, but if I were you, I'd stick to the day job. I love Sky Mangel, I do not like Stephanie McIntosh the pop star. --Lizzie Ennever
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