Tom Odell – ‘Long Way Down’ (Columbia
Tom Odell – Long Way Down
Released 24th June 2013
So far, 2013 has been quite a year for British singer/songwriter, Tom Odell. After releasing his critically acclaimed EP ‘Songs from Another Love’ last year, he has since gone on to win the influential BRITs Critics’ Choice award, been nominated for the BBC Sounds of 2013 and has appeared on countless TV shows.
Wearing his heart on his sleeve with his poignant lyrics, Odell’s piano-led music is said to be achingly heartbreaking. His highly anticipated full-length debut album, ‘Long Way Down’, therefore marks the end of a long journey and the beginning of what looks to be a very successful career ahead of him.
Album opener ‘Grow Old With Me’ is a delicate and sentimental piece that focusses on the theme of eternal love and being with someone forever. Odell openly sings with youthful authenticity about the hopes and dreams that come with falling madly in love. The tender piano melody suits Odell’s rich – but still raw – vocals, particularly when the song builds to a rousing conclusion, which could easily have audiences dancing. A wonderfully charming track to kick off proceedings.
Lead single ‘Hold Me’ erupts with pounding piano riffs and crashing acoustics. Odell’s passion is evident through his howling vocal delivery, whilst his delicate singing during the bridge is reminiscent of his typically endearing, soulful voice that is most commonly heard. The song in its entirety is extremely catchy, with the powerfully clattering instruments only emphasising the need to sing along.
Although it may seem rather sadistic to say Odell works best when he’s hurt, it is in fact, true. Opening with an intricate piano melody, ‘Another Love’ proves to be both enticing and immediately captivating. An initially soft-sounding verse emphasizes the songs simple yet boldly candid and meaningful lyrics, before a haunting vocal harmony accelerates the track to a shift in volume and tempo. Violent acoustic strums, heavy keys and a solid drum beat create a grand atmosphere, to which Odell matches his powerfully resonant vocal tones perfectly. This is a beautiful song full of alluring fragility and harrowing darkness.
‘Can’t Pretend’ once again showcases Odell’s strengths as an artist. Starting out as a melodic, brooding composition, the track gradually builds up to a mighty crescendo, with passionate vocals layered over the top. His voice is natural, versatile and emotionally convincing – melting over his deliberate yet gentle piano melodies.
Odell has managed to compose an individual and wonderfully infectious sound. ‘Long Way Down’ is a well thought out, dynamic and emotive record that plays with contrasting volumes and pitches to really pack a punch. Songs such as ‘Sirens’, ‘Till I Lost’ and ‘I Know’ build from simplistic beginnings to finish in striking climaxes, and would not sound out of place if played in a stadium – something that may just happen in the not too distant future.
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about ‘Long Way Down’ is how, despite being an album based on a simple set of concepts, it expresses a level of maturity not seen by other artists of a similar age. It proves to be an impressive collection of honest, memorable songs beautifully executed and powerfully delivered. My advice? Catch this one while he is still relatively new – he is only going to get bigger!
All words by Alana Turk. More of Alana’s writing for Louder Than War can be found here.