Album: Olly Murs, In Case You Didn't Know (Epic)

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The Independent Culture

It's the erosion of true character – especially vocal character – in favour of spurious "personality" that may be talent-show telly's most damaging effect on pop. Olly Murs might have a lovely onscreen personality, but only the merest glimmers of character are allowed to shine through the swaddling retro-pop arrangements of In Case You Didn't Know, as when his tremulous pipings are buoyed on the organ and horns of "Oh My Goodness". For the most part, it's cruise-liner-show bland, even the fulsome claims of heartbreak and misery being delivered with implausibly high spirits, over anonymous settings bereft of mus-ical signature. The worst offenders are the title-track and "Tell the World", a brace of "reggae" tracks at the heart of the album, so soul-sappingly vanilla they make The Police seem like Burning Spear. Music this offensive should come with a warning sticker, surely?

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