Clea

Trinity

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The likes of Lemar, Liberty X, and Jennifer Hudson have all managed to put talent contest defeat behind them and eventually overshadow the actual winners. Three-piece girl band Clea, made up of the rejected finalists from ITV's Popstars: The Rivals, are unfortunate in that they lost out to Girls Aloud, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed pop groups of the decade. Unable to command as much attention as their high-profile rivals, they've struggled to put together any consistent run of success, releasing one single every year for the last four and shelving their original debut album Identity Crisis at the last minute. Which is a shame, as some of their original, more mature material is up there with Cheryl Cole and co.'s best efforts. Hugely under-rated first single "Download It," a brooding slice of sultry electronica, took everyone by surprise, and unlike their TV show boy band counterparts, suggested they weren't going to settle for mundane, dated pop. And half of Trinity does indeed adhere to that philosophy. The Sugababes-aping "Stuck in the Middle" shows they can do the big sweeping ballad just as convincingly as any other girl group; "Pretty Little Bad Girl" is the kind of faux-angst pop/rock that has made Kelly Clarkson a worldwide star; whilst the epic melancholy of "The Lie," complete with soaring strings, sounds like a potential number one. Unfortunately, the quality can't be sustained over Trinity's rather overlong 15 tracks, and the more commercial change in direction since the album re-recording is rather disappointing. The plastic pop of "Lucky Like That" sounds like an old Atomic Kitten B-side, while their cover of Jermaine Stewart's "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off" is the kind of tacky Eurodance you'd hear pumping out of a Benidorm nightclub. And the departure of their most talented singer, Chloe, has left a gaping hole in the vocal stakes, with their attempts to hit the big diva notes often falling flat. Undoubtedly an album of two halves, Trinity feels like a missed opportunity, with its tendency to aim for the pure pop jugular overshadowing its more inventive and interesting streak. Girls Aloud won't be having any sleepless nights just yet.

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