Knowing Sam Smith from his hits ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Money On My Mind’, it surprised us that, when by track two of this debut album, we were slumped under feathery folk guitar and cheesy bursts of strings.
After four tracks, you’re wondering where the fire is on this record. Smith is a banging singer, with a knack for the most inquisitive of vocal earworms, but the power comes from hearing him push those pipes to the limit over next-level pop production.
This collection of ballads is classic and retrospective, but in such an obvious way that the collective whole fails to grab the listener. Apart from perhaps three exceptions, most of these tracks get lost in their own elegant, introspective and lovelorn swirl of tedious easy listening.
Words: Joe Zadeh
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Related: Next Wave: Sam Smith