At just 26, Mark Evans has a thriving musical theatre career (plus a brush with the Eurovision Song Contest UK heats) already to his credit. Condensing that down to 14 tracks for his first album is quite a task, one he manages with some aplomb.
A low-key start "Comin' Home" is repeated later as a bonus track in its original Welsh. The Welsh original makes a strong case for that language being the most musical in the world.
Following the English version of "Comin' Home," "Unchained Melody" unites Mark with 2012 "Ghost" co-star Siobhan Dillon in a duet that records their on-stage chemistry for posterity. Voices often match and blend in duets, but few are like dancers, following and soaring together as here.
"Reach the Sky," a Bobby Cronin number, builds slowly before suddenly revealing a bright optimism. Continuing the upbeat theme, "Brand New You" from Jason Robert Brown musical "13" is given an adult interpretation, turning a duet intended for two teenagers into, first, a rather seductive production number and (as a later `bonus track') an acoustic guitar driven reflective piece. The former is the more successful, as it brings a new dimension to the song; though the second is a fun experiment.
Broadway composer Craig Carnelia's "Flight" may not be well known outside the theatre community, but Evans may rectify that by finding an ethereal quality to the music - making the listener wish to explore the composer's other works.
By contrast, "Alive" is a rock duet with Ashleigh Gray. A welcome change of tempo mid-disc, the fun they are having is infectious and the sound mix perfect.
The spooky "In Her Eyes" is another well-judged move, allowing the singer to do something with an equally strong beat but slower rhythm, proving his vocal range.
Slowing further "Until Then" is a gentle exposure to composer Scott Allan. A sleepy rendition belies a song with strong inner emotions.
A Josh Groban song, "To Where You Are" appeared on Groban's debut album in 2001, and is a sound choice for this debut album too. Given a simple rendition, it's a vocal pitched perfectly for the listener's relaxation.
Singing his own lyric, "Keep On Believing" is an anthem to a performer's work, something to aspire to in the audition line. It's also an indicator that Mark Evans has some writing talent to match his theatrical abilities.
The main album finishes on "The Journey Home." (from musical `Bombay Dreams'). Once more, a flavour of Wales influences the delivery as much as the song's Indian origins. Straightforward and lovely, it's the perfect way to finish the album; the haunting delivery of the lines "The Journey Home" make for a memorable exit.
With a final mention to the third bonus track, "Adre'N Ol" for another reminder that Wales manufactures some of Great Britain's finest music, it's safe to say that Mark Evans is another fine export, and that this album will delight current fans and win him some new ones.