Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
on 21 November 2013
His first album was one of the most enjoyable I'd heard for many years. There were no songs I disliked - which is almost unheard of - and some absolutely stunning ones, including "Simple as This" which would be one of my "Desert Island Discs". So, like virtually everyone else who bought it, I was looking forward enormously to the second album and purchased it before listening to it. True, the reviews weren't brilliant and, true, the songs I'd heard (like Slumville Sunrise) hadn't impressed me but I really thought that I wasn't going to be disappointed with his second album.
However, after I'd played it, I felt a sense of abject disappointment. There wasn't a single song that grabbed me or held my attention; indeed, I wasn't even sure that I even wanted to listen to any of it again (and I can normally tell whether I like a song on first hearing). Nevertheless, although I persisted and have now listened to it at least a dozen times, I still feel a sense of disappointment. I only really like two songs (neither of which is anywhere near as good as the best on the first album) and find three more merely "OK"; sadly, I have no particular desire to hear the remainder again. I'll no doubt try again, but, if I don't like them after twelve hearings, it's unlikely they're ever going to appeal.
So, what's wrong with the album? Mainly, there's an absence of the wonderful melodies that were on the first album. When I reviewed that on Amazon last year, I said that he was the most outstanding talent I'd heard for many, many years with songs on a par with those of the Beatles, Kinks, Stones and Bee Gees. Maybe I'll still think that after album number three - but I don't think that now. I found a number of songs overstayed their welcome, with uninteresting and unnecessary instrumental fills in the middle, and utterly mediocre drumming and bass guitar work throughout. I don't think he's ever been well-served by his choice of drummer, but the bass guitar work on the previous album added enormously to it. I also found intensely grating his frequent pronunciation of "th" as "v" - "with" becomes "wiv", for example. I can live with it with it in everyday speech but there's no need for it in song: it simply sounds slovenly and, given that it doesn't happen on every song, it's quite unnecessary.
As I submit this review (which, in any case, is only a subjective opinion), I realise that I'm so far in a minority of one and that I could well get a lot of flak , of which that from the trolls which abound on this website will no doubt be quite abusive.
I'll continue to follow his career with interest and look forward to hearing album no 3. I'm pleased that so many people are thoroughly enjoying Shangri La; I really wish I was one of them
Incidentally, on YouTube there is a song of his called "The one I never knew" which has had over 96,000 hits. It's a pity that didn't make it onto the album.