Beverley Craven's "Promise Me" was a hit throughout Europe in 1991, and remains an adult radio staple today. Bookended by a naggingly familiar rolling piano arpeggio, it's one of those songs with a melody so well-crafted and easy to memorize, you almost imagine you've heard it somewhere before. Like most of Craven's self-titled debut, "Promise Me" deals with love -- clearly her chief interest. She doesn't really explore the subject in depth, the way, say, Joni Mitchell might; her approach is more akin to that of a paperback romance novel, albeit a classy one. There's unrequited love ("I Listen to the Rain"), long-distance love ("Promise Me"), sisterly love ("Memories"), and love for pet dogs ("Joey"). This is all well and good, and Craven is certainly a fine and endearingly romantic composer, but what's missing is a bit of grit. The songs recall work by Karla Bonoff and Beth Nielsen Chapman, but while those two artists occasionally intersperse their lovelorn balladry with rock, country, or folk, Craven refuses to budge from one string-laden musical setting to another. "Two of a Kind" and "Woman to Woman" are uptempo cuts, but they adhere to the same formula as all the other songs, simply with a different time signature. It's a relief, then, that Craven's writing is so excellent, and her voice warm and unpretentious; otherwise she wouldn't be able to get away with such single-mindedness.
Charles Donovan, Rovi