In Case You Didn’t Know is a peculiar choice of title for Olly Murs at a time when his profile is at its highest. But for those unfamiliar with the X Factor graduate turned presenter, a brief masterclass: on the surface, he’s an inoffensive Jack the Lad with added nan appeal, enjoying the ride in a rare display of post-X Factor success.
Yet Murs has become the go-to punch bag for pop snobbery, invoking bile across press and forums alike; evidently, the cheeky-chappy shtick and heart-on-sleeve Essex Boy anthems aren’t for everyone. Such a reaction might prompt many a popstar to downplay themselves and aim for low-key credibility. No such plan of action here; his second album sees Murs stand firm in his knowing cornball charm, all topped off with a broad, cheesy grin.
Of the album’s two singles thus far, the doo-wop leanings of Dance With Me Tonight provides a more accurate clue as to what to expect, rather than the contagious, dub-lite shuffle of Heart Skips a Beat. It’s all finger-clicking and parps of brass and nods to Motown. It’s easy to imagine a boardroom full of suits looking at a Bruno Mars-related pie chart and deciding to shift proceedings thataway, but in its execution it’s hugely British. It’s a style Murs can pull off convincingly, as evidenced on the jovial bounce of Oh My Goodness or I Don’t Love You Too.
There are the occasional steps elsewhere: a lone snifter of ska from his debut hangs around on the title-track, while the quality dips slightly entering ballad territory. This Song Is About You could, ironically, have been recorded by anyone.
Perhaps the whole thing could do with a metaphor or two, and it has its share of inevitabilities, but there’s a real sense of joy in what Murs does. Where, by comparison, Matt Cardle looks embarrassed by his every move, or Joe McElderry soullessly croons whichever standard he’s handed, Murs is entirely invested in every note he sings, and clearly loves every moment.
In Case You Didn’t Know doesn’t surprise, but it certainly fulfils. And, admirably, it doesn’t try to be anything it’s not – rather, it revels in its approachable, unashamed pop goodness, swatting away the incoming jets of venom without a care. It’s hard to question an attitude so upbeat. Hell, those pop snobs could probably afford to be a little bit more like Olly Murs themselves.
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