Album Review: Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd

Tom Odell Wrong Crowd

Tom Odell shows diversity on second record
Expectations were high for Tom Odell’s career when he started out in 2012. Before he even released an album he already received his first BRIT award, following the success of his stunning single ‘Another Love’. Debut record Long Way Down received extremely mixed reactions from critics, but in the UK it reached number 1 and platinum status. After three years it is finally time for the follow up, called Wrong Crowd. Odell experiments with genres and shows a whole lot of diversity this time around.

Tom Odell started the promotion of his sophomore record with the launch of the haunting title track ‘Wrong Crowd’, on which he experiments with some electronic sounds. The official first single ‘Magnetised’ is a club banger, disguised in a band arrangement where of course his piano plays a central role. The chorus is beautifully melodic and it makes the track one of the pop highlights of the year so far. In terms of poppy vibes, only ‘Silhouette’ comes close. The track opens with a Disney like strings section that transforms into a prominent drum rhythm that leads us towards a swinging chorus with hand claps and some soaring vocals with perfectly executed backing vocals.

These backing vocals, just like on his debut, play an important part throughout the whole record. The captivating chorus of ‘Concrete’ is echoed by a choir throughout and this makes the emotive vocal performance by Odell even more tangible. On ‘Sparrow’, a song that adresses questions about life to a bird, he showcases the higher register of his vocals in a subtle build up and a great finale, once again including powerful backings. Odell returns to his piano roots on the ballad ‘Constellations’, that does not need anymore than him singing his heart out over his signature instrument and some strings.

The only two small missteps on this record are ‘Here I Am’, a bland pop tune that tries too hard to recreate the ‘Magnetised’ magic, plus the rocky sound of ‘Daddy’ that does not quite hit home in any way. Odell does excel in recreating musical glory days from the past on ‘Still Getting Used To Being On My Own’. The track honestly sounds like a classic soul ballad with some blues influences from the 60’s, but it is not a cover! Tom Odell once again proves himself to be a songwriter with a rare talent that makes him convince in a great variety of styles. He sometimes sounds like Florence + the Machine, Coldplay or even Etta James, but makes it all his own with that distinctive, intensely emotive, belting voice. Wrong Crowd shows growth, versatility and progression.

Must listen: Magnetised, Concrete, Sparrow, Still Getting Used To Being On My Own, Wrong Crowd

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