Leona Lewis became an instant celebrity when she won Britain's The X Factor. Unlike so many British stars, she cracked the US market with the fantastic single Bleeding Love, and her future looked bright.
Her sophomore effort Echo contains more of her powerhouse vocals and is a more modern production than her debut. Sadly, her incredible voice - which justifiably sees her compared to some of the music world's greats - is shown off to great effect on largely unmemorable tracks.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. Lewis is only 24, but her voice is best suited to more mature song styles, in particular ballads. Outta My Head is an ill-advised foray into electronic dance music, making the belter sound like a discount-store Madonna. Love Letter sounds like a rip-off of Cher's Believe. And OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder may be a crack writer and producer, but paired with Lewis on closer Lost Then Found, his reedy voice ruins an otherwise pleasing tune.
But there's plenty to celebrate here. Opener Happy is a like a self-help anthem to accepting life, with a sing-along chorus. I Got You is an unfussy, guitar-led paean to friendship with some distinctly N.E.R.D-like beats. And Lewis' cover of Stop Crying Your Heart Out is a gloriously powerful rendering of the Oasis original.
Buy this, listen and enjoy. Just don't expect to remember many of the tunes afterwards.
YP rating: 3/5