Hayley Westenra: Pure
By Mike Moroney
I was quite looking forward to this. This album has had such good press, Westenra such a pleasing voice and the pedigree of the production team and musicians (Sir George Martin, Giles Martin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) is unquestioned. I was disappointed. The best thing about this album is the young woman's outstanding performances; unforced, unhurried and unpretentious. Hayley Westenra has a natural charisma that comes through despite the nana-and-grandad arrangements and the unflattering choice of material. Frankly, I think she deserves better than this - I can think of several local producers who would have done better. The cover of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights is a waste of Westenra's talents and what were they thinking with the chord sequence of Hine e Hine? It's brutal. None of this, of course, will do Hayley Westenra any harm, the album is selling exceptionally well and she has undeniable star quality, but I hope that before too long she will be allowed to break out of this rather plastic mould.