To win a Brit Award before releasing your debut album brings a certain level of expectation, but Tom Odell managed it with aplomb. Not only did he top the chart with his first long-player, it also went on to reach platinum sales figures. Its follow-up is now ready to be revealed and a supporting will take place from November.
Odell's breakthrough success was built on piano anthems and ballads predominantly about heartbreak, crucially avoiding clichés and displaying his endearing vocals. It would be an easy choice to try and repeat the formula of mature pop, but any notion of this is dispelled early on by the title track and 'Magnetised'. Whilst they retain the retro backing vocals that are something of a trademark to Odell's work, club beats are certainly new and work surprisingly well. 'Concrete' is soulful and features a particularly strong chorus, while 'Constellations' is a return to piano and strings that swoons gracefully. 'Silhouette' begins in a similar manner before opening up into energetic pop brilliance, while 'Here I Am' is destined to be a live favourite that shows how something as simple as hand claps can be effectively utilised.
'Wrong Crowd' is not a perfect record; with cuts such as 'Sparrow' and 'Jealousy' not quite hitting the mark, but Odell more than shows that the success of his first album was no flash in the pan. He continues to channel failed relationships into wonderful work, but crucially displays that as an artist, he is capable of successfully developing his sound. He hasn't abandoned the qualities that brought him to prominence, but uses them as a foundation to create a fine collection that firmly places him amongst the elite of contemporary British singer-songwriters.
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