Former Fightstar man finds a happy position on second solo record
After previous stints as a boyband pin-up in Busted and a tormented frontman of power-emo troupe Fightstar, Charlie Simpson has now reinvented himself as a country-folk troubadour. This is his second solo effort, and it’s a far happier record than his debut, ‘Young Pilgrim’. Unlike that album, which was in debt to the miserable melancholy of The National and Micah P Hinson, ‘Long Road Home’ has more in common with the sunnier dispositions of The Shins and Sufjan Stevens. When it works, as on the rollicking pop of ‘Comets’ and the jagged balladry of ‘Emily’, it’s a triumph, but when it doesn’t – see the plodding ‘Would You Love Me Any Less?’ – it falls flat.