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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Valance reveals little substance
Holly Valance
Valance starred in soap Neighbours as Flick

Holly Valance took a big gamble when she decided to pack her knapsack and leave the quiet, cosy world of Australian soap Neighbours, landing on British shores to make a bid for musical stardom.

Her first shot at musical success went like a dream - the singer shot straight to the top of the charts with the funky, fun Kiss Kiss, which brought a slither of Eastern promise to the world of pop.

Valance's debut album Footprints is upon us remarkably quickly - and the initial signs hold out little hope that her pop career is going to last any longer than a soap bubble.

Nellee Hooper has worked with Madonna
As Flick Scully in Neighbours, Valance spent far too much time flouncing around in that terrible school uniform with a butter-wouldn't-melt look in her eyes.

For her pop persona, this has all been stripped away to be replaced with tousled blonde hair, raunchy outfits and direct appeal to the young, male, record-buying public.

A clutch of song titles on the album add to the heady concoction - current single Down Boy, Tuck Your Shirt In, The Harder They Come to name but a few.

Valance has been the first to defend her corner on this thorny issue, but the fact is that much of this album is disappointingly unremarkable.


Her penchant for the exotic makes a welcome reprise on Tuck Your Shirt In, while lyrically we know exactly where she is coming from - and it is not the wholesome, straight-laced streets of Erinsborough.

All In The Mind echoes Down Boy - it is another sensual, slow-burning track offering a mature sound.

This trio of stand-out tracks are the work of renowned producer Nellee Hooper, who in the past has twiddled knobs for Madonna and Bjork.

But a whole portion of Footprints slides into anonymous oblivion, and Valance's case to be taken seriously can be easily picked apart.

Kylie Minogue
Valance follows in Kylie Minogue's footsteps
She even dips her toe into the murky waters of balladsville, where the fresh-faced soap starlet comes back to haunt us.

Her voice on Help Me Help You is pleasant enough, but the song drowns in its own sea of insipidity.

An R'n'B tip on Connect goes some way to save the day, but as the album concludes, it is hard not to feel a million miles away from Kiss Kiss.

The comparisons made between Valance and Kylie Minogue begin and end with the Neighbours connection and their initial success in the world of music.

Valance's first two singles were impressive, but the very essence that made them stand out has not been bottled and sprinkled all over this debut collection.

It appears to have been assembled in a rush, and as a consequence there are just too many throwaway songs on Footprints, which have minimal musical impact.

As for Valance, she has been packaged up to the hilt as a sexy siren, and is making the best of her obvious assets.

But on the strength of this album alone, her long-term presence in the charts hangs very much in the balance.

Footprints by Holly Valance is out now on London Records.

Holly Valance
Hear a clip from All In The Mind
See also:

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