CD review: James Arthur, James Arthur (Syco)


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The Independent Culture

First albums by X Factor winners are necessarily a mixed bag: with something thrown in for the service-station impulse buyer, the ardent fan, those who just, you know, really loved that “Impossible” song, their granny and cat. And this is no exception. But there’s also enough here to make clear that Arthur is no mere steed in the Syco stable.

“New Tattoo”, “Recovery”, “Suicide”, “Smoke Clouds”… the titles alone tell you that this young man is not going to be stepping on Olly Murs’s toes any time soon. The constant here is Arthur’s voice: genuinely soulful and able to switch from MC to Marvin at the flick of a falsetto.

Those expecting an album full of frothy pop will be disappointed. But so will those who ridicule the winners of TV talent shows.