It’s hard to imagine anyone who has taken part on the X Factor actually achieving any degree of musical credibility and the mere fact that “Running With Scissors” is an expanded version of her debut album is more than enough to make the seasoned reviewer reach for a glass of milk. Well, something quite a bit stronger than milk actually but there may be children reading this…
As you might expect from a seeker of fame, this album is low on surprises except for the one big surprise. That surprise? Janet Devlin manages to establish both her singing and song writing abilities with an endearing yet polished performance.
It is undeniable that the songs co-written with the Newton Faulkner machine – such as “Hide & Seek” – vanish down the sugar coated road to super cute Kate Nash land but they were clearly designed from the start to be radio friendly. However, it is on the slower songs that Ms. Devlin’s star quality begins to shine through. “When You Were Mine”, for instance, is an object example of how to take a song and prepare it to be a girls night out style big ballad and “Whisky Lullabies” highlights both her lyrical sensitivity and her ability to deliver a finely nuanced vocal performance. The latter song was the one that made this album for me.
“Running With Scissors” is therefore a commercial album and it would not be a surprise if it took her towards mainstream success. Mainstream success might not mean that much in financial terms these days but, given that Ms. Devlin provided evidence that she has more to offer than most, she might also find artistic success inevitable.