Best known for her role as Sally Fields in the '90s ITV drama London's Burning, Bradford actress Heather Peace will be hoping to do slightly better than the firefighting series' previous musical exports, karaoke chancers John Alford and Steven Houghton, with her debut album, Fairytales. Co-written with the likes of former Speedway frontwoman Jill Jackson and Scottish singer/songwriter Horse and self-funded (with a little help through the Pledge Music initiative), it's clear from the outset that this self-described "diary of bad relationships" is a labor of love rather than a cynical attempt to cash in on her TV fame. Reuniting with Oscar nominee Nigel Wright (Barbra Streisand), the producer behind her previous brief foray into pop (2000's cover version of Bette Midler's "The Rose"), Peace settles into her new role as soul-baring chanteuse quite comfortably, whether it's on the Gallic-tinged lounge-pop of "Sabotage," the Sade-esque cocktail bar jazz of "Fight For," or the gentle bluesy shuffle of "Never Been a Girl Like You," which recalls mid-'90s Beautiful South at their finest. Occasionally, her theatrical background means her attempts to tap into the same emotive territory as Adele come off as more cabaret than confessional balladeer, particularly on "Harmony" and the title track. But while Fairytales feels like it's been designed by an easy listening radio committee, it's still a charming, if perhaps a little one-note, first offering that manages to harness Peace's previously untapped talents.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien