It’s been three years since Tom Odell’s critically acclaimed debut album, Long Way Down, was released, so it was with high hopes and baited breath that fans awaited his follow-up, wondering how it could ever be topped. Well now the fated day has arrived and Wrong Crowd has been unleashed onto the world, those same fans certainly have something to swoon over, as the highly anticipated second offering is much more ambitious than they ever could have dreamed.
Opening with the sombre title track ‘Wrong Crowd’ and an interesting club beat, Tom’s new material sounds different right from the off, and it’s then you know that you’re in for a treat as he lets you in on a snippet of what he’s been up to in his absence. Getting off to a strong start, lead single ‘Magnetised’ is an absolute pop belter, and by the time you’ve sung your lungs out through to the powerful ‘Concrete’, the strikingly honest lyrics start hitting you with the underlying sense of isolation and loneliness that seep through every word. It doesn’t seem to have been an easy ride for the singer in the love department while he’s been away that’s for sure…
The beautifully composed ‘Constellations’ slows down the mood a little, a simple piano and strings number in-between his more energetic tracks, but one that really pulls on the heartstrings and wraps you up in it’s enthralling storytelling. So as the soft lyrics ring out, “The piano man is playing some old melody, don’t mean much to anyone but it does to you and me…”, this piano guy’s melody will have you falling hook, line and sinker in love with his new material.
‘Still Getting Used to Being On My Own’ is packed with quirky piano riffs and a building strings section, but reinforces that feeling of loneliness and going through the motions of a battering break-up even through it’s uptempo disguise, especially when paired with the stripped back ‘Jealousy’ that follows. On the angsty ‘Daddy’ both Tom and his backing vocalist really let rip with heavy rock guitar riffs that build to the biggest crescendo on the album, and then it’s back to the pop-perfect ‘Here I Am’ which will have the crowd clapping and chanting along quite happily come his live shows in November.
When the opening chords of sentimental closer ‘Somehow’ begin to play, you feel like you’ve been on one hell of a journey. Through rocky relationships, break-ups, jealousy, loneliness and angst, it finally feels like everything’s coming up Odell with a classic swooning love song to sway along to. Tom Odell crooned his way into your hearts with Long Way Down, but it’s Wrong Crowd that really showcases his extraordinary skill for honest storytelling through his songwriting; an album you come away from appreciating not only his incredible voice, but that he’s a young man with vulnerabilities just like the rest of us.
Wrong Crowd is out now via Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited.