In ITV’s 2008 documentary The Passions of Girls Aloud, Cheryl Cole travelled to Los Angeles to learn street dancing and Sarah Harding learnt polo in Argentina.
Kimberley Walsh, meanwhile, journeyed to London’s West End theatre land to audition for a part in Les Misérables. It transpired that years of singing low-to-mid range pop in unison had left Walsh ill-equipped for the challenge, but five years on her voice is in much better fettle on Centre Stage.
Recorded in Stockholm with the Swedish producers Per Magnusson and David Kreuger, Walsh’s solo debut covers songs from well-known stage musicals. Girls Aloud fans who relished the bangs and whistles of the group’s Xenomania production/songwriting team may find the going a little staid, for Walsh’s lavish, perfectly decent takes on Somewhere (from West Side Story), and Another Suitcase in Another Hall (from Evita) never quite ignite.
Centre Stage is the sound of Walsh realigning herself for a different audience (singing Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang suggests she has kids, not just parents, in her sights). All told, it’s a pleasant but superfluous listen.
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