Album: Tom Odell, Long Way Down (Columbia)

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The Independent Culture

There was much amusement in the Twitterverse this week after Odell's father rang NME to complain about its 0/10 review of Long Way Down.

A shamelessly showy act by the magazine, pretending to still have teeth by tokenistically savaging a Heart FM-targeted artist while remaining safely sycophantic towards its core indie darlings. But, truth be told, Odell's debut barely deserves a higher mark.

The winsome, watery West Sussex singer-pianist rose to prominence in January when the music media, in one of those baffling, stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off decisions which are increasingly common, chose to elect him Critic's Choice at the Brit Awards.

He specialises in staggeringly banal lyrics ("Grow old with me", "When you hold me in your arms I can feel your heart") delivered in an overwrought cry-baby warble, and song structures with big predictable sub-Keane, sub-Arcade Fire crescendos.

And his redundant, point-missing cover of Randy Newman's "I Think it's Going to Rain Today" recalls the line from Paul Calf's video diary, "I'd rather see Dave Lee Travis play Macbeth."

Long Way Down is professionally made, radio-friendly and pretty much a guaranteed commercial success. And it stinks.