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Leona Lewis: Christmas, With Love (Syco)

Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis

Christmas, With Love

(Syco)

There's a spectre of Spector on Leona Lewis's seasonal cash-in, although this particular wall of sound has "Simon Woz Ere" sprayed all over the brickwork. A couple of originals - One More Sleep, Mr Right - carefully copy the 1960s Christmas pop model, while a cover of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) lifts straight from the Spector classic.

Winter Wonderland and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday are so nosily packed with sound that it's obvious they are designed less for the radio airwaves than the supermarket aisles.

Meanwhile, White Christmas boasts the backing of a Casio keyboard rhythm section and Lewis over-decorating the tune with gaudy vocal baubles: this is the musical equivalent of living next door to someone with a warehouse-worth of electric lights and a neon Santa climbing over the chimney.

The last third plays the religious card (O Holy Night, Silent Night) but for all the technique on show, there's no winter warmth to be had anywhere.

A gospel choir is stuck on like tinsel; sentimentality is scattered like icing sugar. And, particularly as it comes directly after the Wizzard cover, Lewis's operatic rendition of Ave Maria sounds like a choirgirl lost at an office party.

ALAN MORRISON

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