North London singer Alan Pownall releases his debut album 'True Love Stories' this month. The title in itself, however, is very ironic considering there is nothing emotional or 'true' about any off the songs on this album. Apparently, the leading track made Fearne Cotton, a key supporter of his music, cry; well sadly the only tears that came from us were from boredom.
After having supported Adele on her nationwide tour, Pownall is set to make it big on his own. His first single Chasing Time has been receiving decent airplay and it's easy to see why. Pleasant and sweet, it has a catchy chorus and decent melodies. But the major problem with the song, which soon becomes the album's giant fault, is that it is nothing original or unique. He claims that the girl in the song 'left enough to leave me wanting more'. It's a shame his own music doesn't have that effect. Fittingly enough, the opening track More or Less becomes a precursor for the whole album; an experiment into the dull, the poor and the bland.
Weirdly enough, all the songs are too similar and all sound like bad demos that had been refused from a Jack Johnson LP. Considering the whole 'summer vibe' acoustic sound has been done to death before, this record does nothing to set Alan Pownall separate from all the other wannabes. Considering that Don't You Know Me (even though it sounds like it should be a song in the musical Grease) sounds like a slower paced Chasing Time and Take Me's verses sound a lot like the bridges in Chasing Time, these are all evidence that all his songs become too samey. By the end you are bored of the same old sound and therefore are struggling to reach the end.
One would hope, on this account, that his lyrics would be something to turn to. Sadly not. Filling his rhymes with sickly sweet clichés such as 'hold me for a while, hold me in your heart' only makes you want to sleep faster. The voice behind these lyrics, although smooth, also is very dreary at times. Alan Pownall once claimed, "I wanted the album to be like a jazz festival in the Forties in the south of France, but set in some dingy bar on a rainy day." It's a shame that the effect the album has is having had drunk too much and feeling woozy in that old French bar. The only standout track from the record, influenced by his interest in the French, is The Others. This track stand outs merely because it is totally different from the others. The use of a scratching record in the background is a nice touch to create authenticity and further create the atmosphere of a French noir backdrop.
By the end, if you have survived it, the album ends with You Know, a nice ballad that ends on a slow dreary note; thus perfectly exemplifying the whole album itself. Pownall claims he is playing 'a game that I could only lose'. Such wisdom in his words. It's a shame that his album failed on all expectations. It could have been different, varied and unique. Instead we got something that was neither 'true' nor made us fall in love with.
1 Star (out of 5)