Best known as Zahara in “Bat Out Of Hell” and as Catherine Parr in “Six,” West End name Danielle Steer’s first solo album of Jim Steinman songs provides an opportunity for her to reach a wider audience.
Opening* with “Holding Out For A Hero,” Steers takes it slower and blusier than Bonnie Tyler, taking pleasure in holding out for a deeper connection. A contribution from fellow Catherine (Aragon this time) Lauren Drew adds to the depth.
“Bad For Good” is lighter, the feeling of being “built for speed” coming through in both the tempo of Noam Galperin’s orchestrations and her own attack on the number.
Back in Tyler territory, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” becomes an original essay in self-reproachment rather than a more familiar angry eruption.
Opening up again, “Surf’s Up” has a theatrical quality in its descriptive lyric and musical theatre delivery. The romance of the sea and the emotions it heightens combine in the strongest track on the album. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” positioned after this, feels almost a sequel. The winter of a relationship following a heady summer. Sadness and honesty in her vocal brings freshness to the familiar lyric.
If the latter tracks are about a relationship, “Safe Sex” is about the joy of independence and control of your own life. Ms Steers is nobody’s fool in love, and lands the message in one understated punch.
Slipping into cabaret mode, reflecting perhaps on the previous mixture of relationships, “Lost Boys and Golden Girls” luxuriates in sharing a mature wisdom.
“Rock and Roll Dreams” is considerably more hopeful. The years fall away after the last song, and the dreamer emerges to bring the wisdom of youth to the fore once again, full of optimistic promise with an almost jazz quality to the arrangement.
Closing the album, “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” summarises the entire emotional trajectory of it, as the complicated mixture of emotions encountered along the path to love are reviewed in carefully delivered phrases.
This debut is a treat for Danielle Steers fans and a good introduction to her work for those who have yet to hear this powerful voice live.
The album, priced £15, is available from www.daniellesteers.co.uk.
*Note: This review was based on an online review copy of the album. The running order of tracks on the CD may differ slightly.