As we've mentioned before, if you take the word "piano" and follow it with the word "balladeer" then you're treading on very dodgy ground. But as the splendid Perfume Genius reminded us, it doesn't all have to be candles in the wind and Barry Manilow concerts. If you look outside of your Mum's Christmas wish list there are artists out there making genuinely passionate and moving tunes using the simple and age-old format of voice and keys. We're not talking about the boring bits at a Coldplay gig, we're talking about Mike Hadreas and Tom Odell who may soon be considered his UK counterpart. Although some of the unbelievably fragile songcraft is missing, the London songwriter isn't exactly poles apart.
Take the live clip of Tom performing his track 'Sense'. Is there any need for this to be taken into a studio and given the once over by some production guru? Or is it best left just as intimate and vulnerable as it is? Emotion can be lost by papering over the cracks, not that there are really any cracks of note here; this is a perfect performance and you sense that he means every word and feels every note. Demo track 'Another Love' (free below) comes from the same place emotionally and musically, this time with a gentle beat and backing vocals, but adding more to the song would quite possibly strip away some of the emotion he packs into it. It'll be intriguing to see how these songs develop once finished recordings are made, but let's hope they don't change too much.
Tom Odell's website
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