Over the last few months the charts have been flooded with identikit, young, blonde, photogenic female pop stars. Pixie Lott, Daisy Dares You, Ke$ha… it’s as if there’s some factory somewhere assembling them.
It would be easy to cynically see Tiffany Page as being designed specifically as the anti-Pixie Lott. She’s still impossibly photogenic and young, but brunette, clutching a guitar and possessing a throaty drawl that will no doubt be making lots of teenage boys feel a bit funny quite soon.
Happily though, there is substance to the perfectly constructed image. Although her record company’s description of Page as a “Chrissie Hynde for the 21st century” is surely stretching it somewhat, there’s a confidence and strut to the songs on this debut album that bode very well for her future.
The fact that opening track Walk Away Slow cribs blatantly from Lou Reed‘s Vicious should tell you everything about Page’s influences. Growing up on a diet of Nirvana and Hole (and having already negotiated the surely intimidating task of touring with Courtney Love), Page is a dyed in the wool ‘rock chick’.
Perhaps a closer comparison would be Sheryl Crow, or the sadly under-rated Leona Naess. Page specialises in radio-friendly, anthemic songs – instantly catchy and singalong but with enough depth to stop you forgetting them straight away. Although a fair bit of the material dips into run of the mill, Page’s forceful personality shines through even the blander songs.
She’s at her best on the more upbeat numbers, such as the excellent Hope He Doesn’t Know About You which has a chorus almost made to be bellowed along to. Police has an attractively ramshackle melody, powered along by an elastic bassline, and featuring a sultry half-spoken vocal by Page, while How Long buries its way into the brain after only a couple of listens.
The ballads scattered across the album work less well. Although You Won’t is gorgeously atmospheric, 7 Years Too Late sounds like it’s been done a thousand times before and comes across a bit tired and flat as a result. The closing track, I Am The Blaze is also slightly overblown, with its overegged string section and Page’s voice sounding somewhat strained at times.
There are definite hints of Pink or Kelly Clarkson (especially the latter on Heaven Ain’t Easy), and Page shares their fiesty style of delivery. It certainly makes a refreshing change to hear a female singer drawl and croak her way through her songs, rather than cutely emoting.
Overall, Walk Away Slow is a fine rock-pop album that should announce Tiffany Page as a future star. Like many debuts, it’s not perfect, but when it hits the spot it makes for a decent enough listen.