Aiden Grimshaw. Remember the name? 2010's moody, quiff-sporting 'X Factor' hopeful who began his reality road with Kanye's 'Gold Digger' and Simon Cowell's gleaming comment, 'Now that's what I call a pop star.' A rocky path of seemingly awkward renditions of epic classics later and Aiden Grimshaw finds himself in an urgent hurry to tear off that 'X Factor' nametag and try to move away from the 'weird' experience, as he deems it after getting the boot.
Put it this way, this is the best possible effort that he could've made in an attempt to shake off that murky past. But, let's face it, that moment will always be associated with Aiden Grimshaw. It's part of his personal timeline and he's definitely become more musically confident since. 'Misty Eye' isn't a conventional 'pop' album, but he sure as could've done that. Just look at the oodles of other 'X Factor' cast offs, who have made eye wateringly bland follow ups; thankfully, he has some savvy. Alt-pop is a suitable genre for it, though it's brushed with an influence of electro and drum & bass for a maximum chance of chart success. But it all locks together nicely.
First single, 'Is This Love' may have got to number 35 in its chart bid, but it's not the best song. The rapid Alex Clare-style big chorus backing its only saviour and not the helium based vocal trying too hard only to weakly echo. 'Behind my eyes, I'm terrified, now you're gone' is the neat refrain that captures attention in 'This Island.' Grimshaw has kept his love for an epic track in ideal opener, 'Hold On.' His vocal potential hits you after the dislodged production to begin; this strangely holds a similar tempo and mysterious vocal as the intro of Lana Del Rey's 'Born To Die.' Though producer Jarrad Rogers has worked with her before so that explains that one.
The tinkering piano of 'Be Myself' is as beautiful as the given vocal. It's a reminder for Grimshaw to 'be myself, no-one else' - obviously something he was up against when he went his own way. It's the album's ballad. Fellow slowie, 'Poachers Timing' doesn't seem to have the same power, though it is still a quiet reminder of Grimshaw's darker influences. With its quivering vocal, a cover of Sia's tearful 'Breath Me' gives the same impression, though this would've been better as a B-side. There would have to be some collaborations on here otherwise it wouldn't be a pop album, right? Rapper Smiler takes up his position in 'What We Gonna Be' and Labrinth's lil' sis lends her soulful pipes to 'Curtain Call.' The latter is much more original.
'Misty Eye' is a record that will surprise you. It casts a new light upon Aiden Grimshaw, a brighter one opposed to the solemn one that dimly lit that shaky 'X factor' performer in his former life. Following Simon's comment, Aiden Grimshaw may be a star but, to add the word pop to that equation, we'll have to see what happens in the aftermath of this record.