Album: Alex Clare ,The Lateness of the Hour (Island)

In today's tightly-compartmen- talised pop scene, a talent as eclectic as Alex Clare may struggle to find his niche, so awkwardly does he straddle rock, pop, R&B and electronica.

On opener "Up All Night", a celebration of a both-ends-burning lifestyle, the rugged rock bassline tugs against a two-step snare twitch; on "Relax My Beloved", strings soothe behind a fractured dubstep bass pulse; and by "Hands Are Clever", he's in full party mode, with a propulsive funk groove whose infectious horns sound oddly strained, as if the party's going on next door. The weird crossover stylings may be partly down to the production of Diplo & Switch, who helmed much of Beyoncé's 4, but Clare's vocal delivery is the unifying factor, a warm, soulful baritone. An impressive debut, albeit one light on lyrical depth.

DOWNLOAD THIS Up All Night; Hands Are Clever; Relax My Beloved

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