Imagine, if you can, a more annoying 2013 sound than the trout-tongued singer from Bastille going “Ayd if yew clews yer ayezzz” before EVERY SINGLE YouTube clip of the year so far. Can’t do it? Then imagine this – an act that’s three parts Ben Howard, five parts Adele, four parts Keane, eight parts Florence and 500 parts Marcus Mumford’s arse. The sort of artist that’s a shoo-in for the Brits Critics Award, voted for by made-up ‘critics’ from Whatever Soporific MOR Shite Sold Fuckloads Last Year To People Who Don’t Really Like Music Magazine. Welcome to Tom Odell. Please, you’re welcome to him.
Just as there was a certain brooding promise to his teaser hit ‘Another Love’ before someone waterboarded it with cod-pagan pomp until it was a trembling, desperate mess prepared to do anything its overlords told it to, ‘Long Way Down’ is a decently bland album by a (probably) decently bland sort of bloke that’s been shafted so hard by The Man it’s submitted to gospel choirs (‘Can’t Pretend’), Coldplay chorus ballast (‘I Know’, ‘Till I Lost’) and Mumford money jigs (‘Grow Old With Me’) – all over-emoting songs about nothing.
During the maudlin quietude of ‘Sense’ or the title track, a tiny inkling of pity emerges in your sickened soul, and you convince yourself the 22-year-old from Chichester is just a poor, misguided wannabe who’s fallen into the hands of the music industry equivalent of Hungarian sex traffickers. Then he comes over all Lionel Richie on ‘Supposed To Be’. I wish I could say there’s a place in Hell reserved for Tom Odell. There’s not. Just loads more Brits. He’ll be all over 2013 like a virulent dose of musical syphilis, pounding and warbling away at every Papal election and Bradley Wiggins finishing line. Be warned, you can’t unhear it.