Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

 |   |  <1 min read

Tom Odell: Can't Pretend
Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

In Britain this critically favoured, chart-topping 22-year old pianist/singer has made no secret of his admiration for Elton John and that's hardly surprising: the opening piano passages in the sentimental Grow Old With Me are pure Elton, later he includes the line “I sat on the rooftop” (he watched birds, didn't kick off the moss) and occasionally gets within a whisper of Elton in the Tumbleweed Connection/Madman period.

But – remember Elton's songs were written by Bernie Taupin – Odell repeatedly plays the troubled romantic (every lyric is relentless first person and he's either wounded by love or expecting to be).

And he rarely goes for understatement.

He's from the quiet intro to sky-scaling chorus school. Regrettably those repeated stylistic signatures become wearisome over 13 songs (plus demos of two). So much trouble in his life for one so young?

Odell is undeniably talented and the high-points – the desperate Sirens and chorally-enhanced rocker Storms are unshakable, his considered cover of Randy Newman's I Think It's Gonna Rain Today and the tastefully spare closer Heal – show blinding talent.

But elsewhere you feel he's Elton aspiring to be Ziggy Coldplay.

That album title could be more telling than he thinks.

Like the sound of this? Then try this. It's more fun.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

An album where an artist covers the material of others is hardly a new concept, but you can guess that Peter Gabriel -- the ever sensitive quality controller, with his first album in eight years --... > Read more

Great North: Up in Smoke (greatnorthband.com)

Great North: Up in Smoke (greatnorthband.com)

For a man with an almost obsessive regard for Springsteen – see his answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire – Auckland songwriter Hayden Donnell of Great North here rarely... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

Since Richie Unterberger wrote Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Genuises, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks and More in 1998, many of the artists he unearthed (Wanda Jackson,... > Read more

Portia Faces Life and Dr Paul (from the Fifties)

Portia Faces Life and Dr Paul (from the Fifties)

It seems peculiar to state the obvious, but there is at least one generation which may not know this: before television people listened to radio. And not just for music and news, radio was the... > Read more