Album Reviews

Holly Valance – State Of Mind

(London) UK release date: 10 November 2003


It’s a fair bet that the hordes of testosterone-challenged teenagers who make up the bulk of Holly Valance’s fanbase will be buying this album for the cover as much as for the music – at least until the new Kylie album hits the shops.

That’s not too surprising because, in truth, there aren’t too many other reasons to invest in this second album by the former Neighbours star.

There’s no doubting that the record company have spared no expense in hiring hotshot producers, writers and musos to pep up the album, which is fine up to a point, but there’s also something rather anonymous about such an approach.

Whatever musical personality Holly possesses – as shown on 2002’s monster hit single Kiss Kiss – has been submerged between too many plodding arrangements. Everything I Hate is, frankly, horrible and Desire is about as enticing as a wet night out in Bognor.

And so it goes on. Any originality that her first album, Footprints, possessed has been dissipated here, and halfway through, all the tracks start to blur and merge into one another, such is the homogeneity of style and production.

It isn’t all bad. Opening track Hypnotic is a slightly raunchy slab of electro-pop, with Holly’s voice almost buried amongst the banks of synthesisers and sequencers. The title track isn’t bad either, another raunchy dancefloor track with flanged vocals underlining the ’80s retro feel.

Occasionally another memorable tune or hook bubbles up to the surface, on Richochets, for instance, or the deliciously cheesy Over ‘n Out, but such moments are all too infrequent.

On the plus side, with its pounding, incessant four to the floor beats, the album should go down well in clubland; rather less so, one suspects, in adolescent bedrooms, where limited attention spans will demand a little more variety. However, the saddest aspect of the whole album is its sheer lack of ambition, even compared to Holly’s earlier work, which, with the occasional Middle Eastern flavouring, at least hinted at a spark of creativity.

All in all it’s not been a good few months for the ex-soap star, especially with the recent, messy court case involving her former manager. It’s also hard to see this uncoordinated mess doing much for Holly’s career – or her State Of Mind.


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