One of the freshest acts to come from any X-Factor ever was also the most surprising: as a couple sauntering on with an acoustic guitar, looking so madly in love we vomited ever so slightly into our tear-filled jar of Nutella. He led the way, she had no idea of her talent, and together Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton, as Alex & Sierra, managed to eschew all twee notions of a couple singing together. And they were bloody good.
Of course, it was that talent and chemistry that led them to victory on the X-Factor USA (RIP, gone too soon), in a result that felt genuinely exciting in the face of their spine-tingling covers of I Heard It Through The Grapevine and Addicted To Love. Of course, now it’s time for them to make their own identity, as the very title of It’s About Us is quick to point out. Sure, it gives them an identity. Just one that stinks of the machinations of a major label.
It’s a proper shame to report that the duo’s debut is largely devoid of the freshness that got them here in the first place. From the lead single Scarecrow to it’s immediate neighbour Give Me Something, it’s all over-produced and sapped of life. Where on the show their harmonies would rise and crack in unexpected places, here they’re very much forced under indie-pop compositions we’ve heard time and again.
Where the record succeeds in those brief moments of honesty (Sierra jumps in like Julia Stone on Almost Home, and Alex is his most sincere), and the massive singalong pop moment that is Here We Go (make this a single, people). Other than that, it’s all pedestrian. It’s a shame given how much love we have for this couple; sadly It’s About Us seems less about Alex & Sierra, and more about what someone else wants them to be.