It's understandable, I suppose, that his record label would like us to believe folk are arguing over whether their new white-soul star James Morrison sounds more like Al Green, Stevie Wonder or Otis Redding. Close your eyes, and it's clear he's actually the Paul Young of his age, blessed with an almost identical smoky vocal timbre that sounds initially attractive - and even adds a certain emotive edge to his phrasing - but which soon palls with repetition, a stylistic trope rather than something flowing from the soul. Open your eyes, and it's as if you're looking at the hell-spawn offspring of some ghastly in vitro union between James Blunt, Chris Martin and Jensen Button, with the bumfluff beard that is the badge of modern British man's dismal averageness. So Morrison's success is, I imagine, assured, even though this debut album is freighted with such ballast of cliché it threatens to sink under its own lack of imagination, with insights as deathless as "When we're alone we are all the same" and "Things are not always what they seem" as it tacks tediously from reproachful rejection to overwrought devotion, and back again.
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