A pleasant enough if ultimately undiverting debut LP...
'Lighting Matches'

Tom Grennan is the owner of a distinctive voice.

At times during his debut album ‘Lighting Matches’ his gruff and guttural delivery gives the songs an intimacy and bite they might not have had with another singer. The flipside is that at times it becomes grating and makes him sound like a one trick pony.

Opening with ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ Grennan’s grizzled vocals are backed by a jaunty guitar riff. It bounces, and bops along pleasantly, but never goes far enough one way or the other to work completely and sits somewhere between James Bay and Nick Jonas. ‘Royal Highness’ suffers the same fate.

‘Barbed Wire’ adds some horns to the proceedings, because it can. While they are a nice change in musical texture, it’s the same result. A pleasant listen, but instantly forgettable when ‘Run In The Rain’ starts.

‘Lighting Matches’ isn’t a bad album, but sadly it doesn't excel either. This isn’t what we’ve been looking for. It is a polished and pristine affair, but it all feels a little too rehearsed and sanitised in its delivery.

Given his ‘lad next door’ persona the album needs ruffing up a bit to take the shine off the production. In his giddiness to release and album through a major label, Grennan has kind of forgotten what it took to get him there.

After ‘Lighting Matches’ finishes a Grennan line comes to mind “Now I'm done and now I'm done now and now I'm done...”

5/10

Words: Nick Roseblade

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