Andreya Triana has one of those voices – plaintive, full of emotional energy, soulful. Her songs are great at their core, and her vocal performances across all eleven of Life In Colour’s tracks are magnificent. The musical performances, however, are built-for-local-radio-station vanilla and lack any genuine feeling or intensity. There is no real sense of soul in the same manner you hear on, say, a Sam Cooke, Otis Redding or Amy Winehouse record, where the instrumentation is just as key to the track’s overall feel as the star persona of the singer. Beyond the uninspired playing, it is in the production that this album truly suffers. Where Triana’s voice swoops and soars, the blandness of the background tracks stifles any true sense of the feeling that the lyrics and vocals are yearning for.

The album opens in decent enough style. ‘Woman’ starts with a summery vibe and fiery lyrics of female empowerment. So far, so good. Then ‘I Give You My Heart’ comes in with a twinky-twanky guitar which is supposedly meant to bring to mind the Delta Blues (I guess, I mean it’s tricky to know exactly what the aim is here). This is the first instant when the mix ruins the song. Everything is just on top of everything else, with no room to breathe. No subtlety, no panning, no depth. It sounds like a demo recorded by someone who has a rudimentary understanding of recording techniques and genre. Worse comes next on ‘Broke’ which is more painful simply because you start really feeling for Andreya Triana who is putting a shift in. The flat and uninspiring production of the track brings to mind the vapid production line of Saturday night TV ‘talent’ contests and you start to feel that Triana deserves more than that.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. ‘Do That For You’ pushes the vocals more front and centre, and it pays off as the relatively muted guitar playing in the background can’t spoil the fun, whilst ‘Beautiful People’ (probably the best track here) has echoes of Janelle Monae - which has to be a good thing. In fact, the second half of the album has a lot more character to it than the first five songs. Triana saves her best, most heartfelt singing for the last track ‘It’s Gonna Be Alright’, which pits her against just a piano, and it’s this minimalist approach to the arrangement that serves her well. There are even a couple of less than expertly delivered vocal trills which adds to the sense of feeling, spontaneity and emotion which is largely absent from much of Life in Colour.

Andreya Triana puts her heart into her vocal performances which show the listener that she really means it, of that there can be no doubt. Yet the lacklustre musical backing and shallow production hinders any real sense of genuine and authentic hurt and pain in the songs that are central to the narrative themes developed in the lyrics. It’s all disappointingly cabaret at times, which is a real shame and swallows the essence of the songs and their meanings.