Album Review: Tom Odell – Jubilee Road

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Tom Odell
Credit: tomodell.com

The BRITs Critics’ Choice Award winner Tom Odell is back with his third studio album Jubilee Road and, while the blueprint hasn’t really changed from his previous two albums, he has managed to produce another beautifully heartfelt album of balladic easy listening.

The opening title track ‘Jubilee Road’ highlights the variety in the tone of Tom’s voice, with the more hushed verses contrasting with the belting chorus. It really sets the tone for the rest of the album as well.

‘If You Wanna Love Somebody’s’ chorus is almost choral, with the backing vocals helping to produce a harmonious sound. It’s rightfully the first single and is an album highlight.

‘Son of an Only Child’ definitely harks back to classic rock ‘n’ roll tracks with an Elton John-esque piano complimenting an electric guitar riff that makes it sound almost like a track that wouldn’t be out of place on an E.L.O album.

While the general sound of most of the tracks bare a lot of similarity, he manages to change the pace thanks to experimenting with different instrumentation. ‘China Doll’ has the bombast of a horn section behind it while it is followed by his more classic sound of just Odell and a piano on ‘Queen of Diamonds’; though the latter is one of the only merely passable tracks on the album, not really making much of an impact and shoe-horned in between a couple of the strongest songs on the record.

‘Half as Good as You’ is a duet with rising star Alice Merton, and their voices fuse perfectly together. The passion behind both of their voices as they sing “If I ever find anyone half as good as you, I think maybe that would do” packs a punch.

‘Wedding Day’ is a strange track. The lyrics almost just play out like a to-do list for wedding planning. For example, there are lines like “Sorted the DJ and the wedding band” as well as ones about finding the right dress and how the night will play out. However, it really paints a picture of Tom watching on at a loved one’s wedding day. It weirdly works and manages to avoid the trap that most songs about weddings fall into of being far too cheesy.

It seems almost unfair to compare these songs to some of his earlier tracks, but when he launched his career with songs as beautifully bittersweet as ‘Another Love’, it’s hard not to. While most of the tracks on this album are equally sing-along worthy, it would be nice to see Tom Odell break out of the mould that he established with his first two albums – much like what Mumford & Sons did with their third album after two very similar records before it.

3 out of 5

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