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JAMES MORRISON Songs For You, Truths For Me (2008)

James Morrison

It sort of says it all when you look up this album up on Amazon and it tells you that people who have bought it have also bought Will Young's new album. So you know that what you're going to get will be clean cut, inoffensive and radio friendly.

Nothing wrong with that, but it's not rock and roll, Jim. Not as we know it. But the man's not going to give a hoot, and neither are his legions of fans. As tricky second albums go, no problem and this one seems to be aimed fairly and squarely as a charm offensive for the US and A.

The album is steeped in r&b / soul roots, James coming on crooning like a latter day Rod Stewart or Stevie Wonder, or maybe even Ray LaMontagne (with a firecracker down his pants to liven him up a bit). It's an effective ploy, although I have to confess the album progresses at a fairly relentless pace and after a while James nasally vocals become a little wearing.

But individually you could imagine each track gracing America's FM radio waves, with far more cred than his other Brit contemporaries could offer. Even Nelly Furtado adds a little weight on Broken Strings, although it's not the best track of the set. That honour goes to Nothing Ever Hurt Like You, which is an modern day equivalent of Stevie Wonder's Living For The City. A terrific track.

And I'll give the man an extra * simply for being less irritating than that other James.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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