Tom Odell – Monsters evaluation: An experimental and deeply troubling listen

A

t a time when there are extra than ample things to trigger stress and anxiety in the strongest of us, we’re hearing a lot about the psychological health struggles of musicians. This month it is 10 decades given that Amy Winehouse’s death. Meanwhile Britney Spears’ battle to manage her personal lifetime is ongoing, and final 7 days youthful pop singer Raye was so pissed off with her treatment by her document label that she tweeted a blurry photo of herself in tears and wrote: “Today I feel like a rest room.”

Possibly, then, it shouldn’t be stunning to hear, from his latest interviews and a extensive range of worrying lyrics on this fourth album, that Tom Odell has been in a dim place. On the encounter of it, as is so usually the circumstance, it looks this floppy-haired chap from Chichester has been carrying out really properly out of aged-fashioned piano ballads in the Elton John/Billy Joel vein. Early on, he received the prestigious Brits Critics’ Choice award, then an Ivor Novello for Songwriter of the Yr. His initial hit, A different Like, has proved so enduring that it re-entered the higher reaches of the United kingdom singles chart once more this April and is nonetheless there.

So it is a shock to hear the voice of the 2014 John Lewis Christmas ad chanting: “I have not acquired a consuming problem” above and about though tweaking the pace up to chipmunk concentrations. On Numb, he announces: “So what, I go out each evening/Sometimes I just take medications,” over grimly clanking hip hop beats. On Sounds, his voice electronically altered til it is all over again close to unrecognisable, he seems completely disillusioned with the task of the songwriter: “I notify my secrets to continue to be employed… It’s only noise,” he sings, right until the tune cuts out with a hospital flatline.

Even in advance of they listen to it, lovers might be involved by the sleeve graphic. He’s on the lookout into the camera, head in his palms, donning a white vest, like a lockdown-fatigued individual who couldn’t inspire them selves to get dressed.

The audio is much more experimental than his former work – stuttering synths on Fire, augmenting his piano with wobbly massed vocals on Streets of Heaven, which is about a faculty taking pictures. It’s intriguing, nevertheless bleak, but closes with the prettier, acoustic Never Be Scared of the Dim. It’s a welcome observe of hopefulness at the end of a troubling listen.