Album: Daniel Bedingfield

Gotta Get Thru This, Polydor

Those attracted by the UK garage stylings of Daniel Bedingfield's breakthrough hit may be a little disappointed by this identically-titled debut album, which pursues a much more varied course than that implied by the single. With Bedingfield's brusque delivery, and the crisp electro snare snapping the groove smartly along, the follow-up single "James Dean (I Wanna Know)" betrays more the influence of Michael Jackson, while the vocal mannerisms of tracks such as "I Can't Read You" and "Friday" suggest the young prodigy has also spent some time poring over Sting's back catalogue. This is no bad thing, though; indeed, the surest measure of Bedingfield's songwriting abilities resides in the fact that songs like these, "He Don't Love You" and "Honest Questions" could play just as well as soul ballads, garage grooves or even indie pieces. With its soft strings and limpid guitar detailing, the latter could even pass muster as a prog-rock power-ballad, while the inspired use of castanets and string-synth stabs on "Right Girl" demonstrates the imaginative approach he brings to what might otherwise be fairly routine dance-pop fare. So although more hardcore, garage-fixated punters may be put off by the album's paucity of single-minded dancefloor grooves, Gotta Get Thru This lays the foundations for a more durable, less trend-reliant career – provided it reaches beyond that initial fanbase, of course.