Erstwhile member of pop juggernaut outfit Steps, Claire Richards, gave us all a welcome surprise a few days ago when she posted a stripped-down version of one of their biggest hits ‘Deeper Shade Of Blue’ onto Soundcloud. ★★★★

One of their most uptempo slices, this version forms a piano-led, torch song with an aching and alluring vocal from Richards, reminiscent of Barbara Streisand at her most devastated.

The morose and bittersweet lyrics coupled with the quintessential passionate production from Steve Anderson make for one of the best songs to be released this year as summer begins to darken.

This is light years away from anything Richards has previously released and is a wonderful tribute to her earlier career. In the wrong hands this could have been overblown, but Anderson and Richards seem to have tapped into a magical, yet simple blueprint.

I’m not sure we can expect such success with a downtempo version of 5,6,7,8, but here’s hoping that this could lead to something quite special and fitting of the cruelly underrated Richards’s undeniable talent.

Simply magnificent and irresistible.

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by Nick Smith | @peripatenic

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