Chichester’s own singer-songwriter Tom Odell finally released his long awaited second album, “Wrong Crowd”, on the 10th June 2016, on RCA records. The album follows the success of his impeccable debut album, “Long Way Down”, which was released in 2013. Odell has already released “Magentised” and “Here I Am” as singles from the album, but earlier this year fans were teased (many via “Whatsapp”) with a hint of the slightly ‘edgier’ than usual “Wrong Crowd”- a song which sets the tone for the whole album. It was beaten to UK number one by none other than Rick Astley (I’m trying to refrain from making a Rick Roll joke).
What I love about the album is that it seems to tell a sort of story, as though it has been purposely composed to do so (yet it hasn’t). It seems to flow really well and needs to be heard in full to fully appreciate. I think “Wrong Crowd” is the perfect opener. It’s not only the title track, but it also introduces us to the album and showcases a new chapter, or almost era, of Tom Odell. It seems effortlessly cool, with undertones of defined beats (I especially love the whistles).
The album goes from strength to strength, with the unapologetic feeling of needing to dance to “Magnetised” (and that’s rare for a Tom Odell song) and the chilled out “Sparrow” and “Concrete”. “Concrete” has got such a unique sound. It almost sounds quite ballad-y or tragic in its lyrics. It’s not too dissimilar to “Constellations”, which is another beautiful song. It’s something so sweet and highlights Odell’s natural knack for songwriting (although it was co-written with Andy Burrows of Razorlight and We Are Scientists). I really love this song. “Still Getting Used To Being On My Own” puts me in mind of a quite bluesy track. It’s got a defined drumming pattern, which is simple, yet effective, and it has piano in some places, which only compliments it. The song feeds perfectly into the “story” that the album tells. “Silhouette” is, again, different for Tom Odell, but it works very well. I’m loving the less reliant on piano thing and the increased use of heavier drumming patterns and more electronic sounds. “Here I Am” is similar as it again different, but it still has relics of piano intertwined with clapping and drums (and Tom Odell steps away from the piano to finish playing it live).
Songs like “Jealously”, “Somehow” and “Daddy” remain true to Tom Odell’s original sound, with similarities of his earlier material peaking through. It’s a breath of fresh air from the other tracks on the album. “Somehow” was released before the album was released in full. It’s a beautiful and sweet little song and a brilliant way to end the album and wrap up the story created by it.
Overall, I think the album is a mighty triumph for Tom Odell. The latter of the album seems to bear resemblance to some of his older material and there’s no harm in that, but the new direction is wholly welcomed. The maturity of his sound, simply incredible songwriting skill (shaped by real life stories of love and heartbreak) and the incorporation of bigger production all make the album something quite special. It’s an effortlessly beautiful album, with something for everyone.
Tom Odell is touring with the album this November, including two nights at the O2 Academy Brixton. He’s also playing Glastonbury and V Festival, among other festivals.