Tom Odell, Jubilee Road - album review
Sitting in the Tom Odell brand of music can be a difficult job.
One man/woman and their piano, it can feel a little dated very quickly and have your mind wandering after a few tracks.
But credit to Sussex lad Mr Odell, he puts enough feeling and interest into his creations to sail above these choppy waters.
His breakout single Another Love in 2012 encapsulates this, hitting the Top 10 in the UK and providing so much oomph and emotion in one song it is no wonder it is still so popular. While Tom has failed to recapture that kind of adulation for his music - 2014's Real Love is his only other Top 10 entry - this third record just might change that.
It's very personal. Tom wrote it while living in East London. It is all about his street, his neighbours and the things he saw while living there. He has fictionalised the road's name to protect the neighbours' privacy, but the stories are 100 per cent real.
From the scene-setting title track, to discussing the gamblers at the local betting shop in Queen Of Diamonds, to party time in Wedding Day, these could be experiences we have lived through - much like Stereophonics' 1997 debut Word gets Around tackling similar themes in South Wales.
There's some upbeat big band sounds here. Son of An Only Child may have more wounded lyrics than some of his other songs, but the jumping keys pulling forward the brass band backing actually creates a fairly happy vibe of prancing children having the best of play dates at the park.
The upbeat vibe continues in that closer Wedding Day. Slower than the previous mentioned track it still holds feelings of immense hope in its lyrics as Tom's slightly different, unique vocals soar over the top.
And there is something very Arcade Fire about China Dolls with its skipping percussion and rampant kazoo in the interludes.
He does go mellow too. Half As Good As You, featuring Alice Merton, is more heartfelt and downbeat, while Don't Belong In Hollywood is full of warning in its emotive, theatre-like, crescendo ending with crashing cymbals.
This is an accomplished listen that will please Odell fans while not breaking any new ground.
Tom Odell plays at Birmingham's O2 Academy on Sunday, October 21