Originally published on So So Gay on 3 September 2014.
Five years since Close to Home was released, singer/songwriter Beverley Craven is back with a new set of songs in the form of her fifth studio album, Change of Heart. This album comes ahead of its lead single, ‘You Belong to Someone Else’, which is released in a couple of weeks and starts off proceedings here on the LP.
For fans of Beverley Craven, ‘You Belong to Someone Else’ indicates they can expect another crop of songs in the classic sound she has crafted and cultivated since her debut album back at the start of the 90s, which is helpfully referenced with a closing rerecording of one of her first singles, ‘Memories’. And why fix what ain’t broke?
The best moments on the album occur when Beverley taps into slightly darker material. The scornful soft rock of ‘No Shame’ finds her chastising an unnamed party: ‘You took all the glory / ’cause you spun your story / twisting the truth / living in denial’. Similarly, the haunting lament of ‘You Never Did Love Me’ is an emotional album highlight, with a very moving vocal performance from the singer.
That’s not to say the gloom is where the gold is. The slightly saucy ‘Just Be the Man’ finds Beverley singing to her man to take control and just get lost in both the lust and the moment: ‘Forget the past, the loves that didn’t last / and make love to me / It doesn’t have to be forever / but for as long as it’s right / And just say the word / and I’ll be your girl tonight’ *CUE STEAMY SAX SOLO*. Oh, Beverley!
Elsewhere, the smooth jazz lilt of ‘Ready to Fall in Love’ is a delightful and lush number that reveals Beverley’s more romantic side, as does the joyful, toe-tapping sway of ‘Love High’, which also features her daughter lending some vocal support. Then there’s ‘When to Walk Away’, a suitably understated and mature ballad, while ‘All Night’ ends the run of new songs on a jaunty footing.
Her new album is yet another self-assured production, including a pleasing – if not revolutionary – update of her classic song ‘Memories’ to close the set. It may not win her many new fans – aside from those perhaps too young to remember her massive 1990 hit, ‘Promise Me’, first time around – but the consistency of Craven’s songwriting over the years has been impressive and remains so with her latest output.
While it would be nice to hear a songwriter as talented as Beverley evolve her sound somewhat with some contemporary flushes – we don’t need her to put a donk on it – but a little experimentation here and there wouldn’t be a bad thing. That said, Change of Heart is yet another fine collection of well-written, piano-led songs that will please existing fans and appeal to those who like their pop on the smooth side.
Standout tracks: ‘No Shame’ / ‘Ready to Fall in Love’ / ‘You Never Did Love Me’ / ‘Memories (2014 Remix)’
Change of Heart is available to download from Amazon and iTunes. Starting tomorrow, Beverley will also be touring the new album. Visit her official website to find out when and where she’ll be playing.