Now, i must first tell you that i am not rating this album poorly due to the music being gloomy or sad. No, in fact there are a great number of bands that deal in sparse, desolate atmospherics and emotions that i greatly admire. The xx, early Coldplay, The Cure, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Massive Attack and David Gray amongst many others. The main problem that i have with this album is how utterly bland and unadventurous it all is. The musical arrangements are very tedious and simplistic with boringly plodded out piano chords and the songs structures are very predictable with many of the songs building into huge crescendos near the end. I found this a very cheap method of trying to filter some excitement into proceedings and it completely failed as i wasn't invested with the emotions he was trying to convey. The songs just drift into each other and they are hard to distinguish. I would try and names some highs and lows but to be honest, nothing on here is terrible and nothing is great. It remains completely average throughout. It doesn't touch the heart, it doesn't surprise you. With that extra bit of nuance, melancholy can become cathartic. But this just doesn't have it.
Another thing that hinders the album is the fact that Tom is just so lacking in charm or likeability or any sense of character that makes him interesting. I found his vocals a little irritating mainly due to the pronunciation of some words and his lyrics range from risible to atrocious. There are no interesting observations or wit of any kind, it's all just so...meh. If i could name a positive, it's that he has a strong voice. But so do a lot of X Factor contestants. Tom Odell is still young and has a lot of time to progress as an artist but all i can say is that this is a very unremarkable debut. Apparently the guy recently won a prominent award and i find that a bit baffling. Just because a guy can write his own songs and appear all earnest and angsty at a piano, it doesn't mean that it's great.
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