x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

All the Lost Souls - James Blunt (WEA International)

CD review Blunt's voice was made for misery and Carry You Home tugs on the heart strings. But it's formulaic stuff, says Katie Boucher.

Whether you like it or not, everyone has found themselves humming along to Blunt's music at some point. It's like shopping on a homogenised high street: all the usual shops are there, with the same tired, old stock. It's not an unpleasant experience but you won't find anything to make you yelp with delight either. The follow-up to Back to Bedlam (which, thanks to the huge success of You're Beautiful, was a victim of its own ubiquity), comes after a blessed two-year fallow period, allowing his peculiar style of strangled quavering to finally fade from our radios. All the Lost Souls doesn't concern itself with new territory, but continues where his first album left off, with more furrowed-brow soul searching and sighs of regret. Blunt's voice was made for misery and Carry You Home about a girl's dying moments tugs harder than expected on the heart strings. Similarly, anyone going through a break-up might want to revel in the teeth-gnashing of Same Mistake. It's formulaic stuff though, and his forays into more philosphical territory in I Really Want You ("is a poor man rich in solitude?" he ponders) fail to elevate this album from a collection of bland, sing-by-numbers ballads.