By Tom Odell
Tom's debut LP is due out early next year so this four track EP is a good way to get to know him.
I was enjoying 'Another Love' enough until halfway through when the pulse of the song starting beating louder and stronger. I'm old fashioned and could live without the song including an f*** related expletive but other than that this is a very good debut EP opener and has enough pop sensibility to make it a successful crossover hit. To be honest there is an element to it where it sounds like an existing pop hit being reworked by a flavour of the month indie band but not in a negative way. (I'm quite partial to the Live Lounge & Dermot O'Leary albums as it goes). It also reminded me of a song I played and played a few years back, "A million fireflies" by Midway State, which was just as catchy. Tom's vocals are pretty impressive - not too strong but just vulnerable to enough to charm.
Sense picks up in a similar style to the previous tracks' intro with another slow piano and vocal beginning. The production is simple but the vocals (and understated backing) grow in stature, almost without you realising it's happening, to shift the mood of the piece from vulnerability to strength. If I had to pick a favourite and this being a review I probably should - it's this one. That's mainly because the backing vocals add a bit of depth and develop it beyond the "one boy and his heartfelt song that I don't necessarily connect with" that it otherwise would be.
'Can't Pretend' in terms of instrumentation has more depth from the off making it more accessible and along with the first track could easily be released and expect to do well commercially. In fact if it was performed by Adele (insert bored-of-that shudder) it would definitely storm the charts but as it is it'll be less well known but remain a perfectly acceptable song regardless. The production is pretty good on this song actually - just wanted to add that as another positive.
'Stay Tonight (Demo)' shows a grainier side to Tom's vocals and with guitar as the initial accompaniment (before piano joins in) it has a different feel to it. Like with the other songs on offer here and based on this as a demo version, the song would benefit from a reworking and maybe full band accompaniment, though an album version of this might just be a more produced recording of the song as it appears here. I just wonder beyond soundtrack what playability or durability this and the other songs will have being little beyond pop songs to a piano. More dynamics to the music might help them reach further afield.
I'll be honest this isn't my cup of tea but as I say whenever I hear a good vocalist with talent making original music that isn't my bag - Tom's clearly very good at what he does and he won't struggle to build a solid fan base. In terms of sustainability of his music I wouldn't like to say though. That said, I've just googled him and watched a video for 'Another Love' and reckon he be fine for female (or male - yes it's a modern world) fans anyway.