There are long-awaited debut albums, and there are long-awaited debut albums. Having first come to public attention as the winner of a national songwriting competition in 2003, Dubliner Laura Izibor must feel frustrated that it's taken so long to get her first album out there - especially since she failed to capitalise on the Meteor 'Hope for 2006' award three years ago. On the other hand, now that the 'Next Big Thing' label has faded - well, in some quarters - the pressure is perhaps a little less intense than it was during the initial scramble.
The only problem - and it's an entirely subjective one, of course - is that Izibor has consequently missed her opportunity to make much of an impact, at least on Irish shores. There's no doubting that this album is a well (possibly over) produced record, and perhaps the 22-year-old is destined for huge success - she has, after all, already shared a stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin.
Yes, 'Let the Truth Be Told' is a glossy-sounding album of funky soul-pop tunes: 'Shine' is a breezy and impossibly catchy summer anthem, 'Yes (I'll Be Your Baby)' adds some finger-clicking sass into the mix, while the likeable 'From My Heart to Yours' borrows from the songbook of Lauryn Hill and dramatic piano ballad 'Perfect World' from that of Alicia Keys.
It's so glossy, however, that there's no rough-'round-the-edges charm, or distinctive quality about it. Izibor might have the superstar looks and the beautiful voice necessary for megastardom, and perhaps when she shakes off the hype in a few years, she'll make an album with real depth - and not just one that relies on a string section to add it. For now, her music chugs along inoffensively like a warm summer breeze - it's nice to know that it's there, but you can live without it.