NME famously gave a previous Odell long-player a zero-star review, calling his music “offensively dull”. The review was itself gratuitously offensive — Mr Odell Snr wrote in and complained — but after listening to this a number of times, we think NME did have a point: it’s not offensive, but it is dull. He’s a piano player in the style of Elton John, just with the sparkle removed.
We can’t really say why: we think it’s over-produced and overly slick. Musically, it’s not far from Josh Taerk but Taerk sounds like a man who hires a studio, plays the tune and goes home for a brew, while Odell sounds like a man who hires a studio, plays the tune and spends three weeks adding strings and layers — there’s even a hint of gospel — deleting anything vaguely edgy.
He can sing, he can play, he can write tunes: maybe he’s got a good album in him yet. He was the voice of the John Lewis advert in 2014 (Monty the penguin); that kind of anodyne everyman sound may appeal to people who don’t much like music and just want something bland in the background — and this album is currently in the top five — but it won’t win him any fans at the NME.