Young Tom Odell first rose to fame after releasing his debut album, Long Way Down back in 2013. With singles like Another Love and Hold Me, he quickly found success. His beautiful mix of piano ballads and various other songs (all of which involving a piano and because of that I can’t find an adjective to describe his other songs. Technically they could be alternative but at the same time it’s not alternative so...), captured our wee hearts. As 2015 came around, us Tom Odell fans waited hopefully for a new album. However, no album did appear, leaving us somewhat lost, searching for the answers as to why Tom was not gifting us with new music and patiently longing for a new single or even a 10 second snippet to appear. Then 2016 rolled in and people became more desperate. Furiously shouting from rooftops and tweeting their displeasure, fans cried “WHERE HAVE YOU GONE TOM?!”, “TOM R U OK, WHERE IS THE SECOND ALBUM” and “GONNY STOP JUST TAKING PICTURES OF YOURSELF FOR LIKE 1 MINUTE TOM AND WRITE A GODDAMN SECOND ALBUM, CHRIST.” Then one day in April 2016, as we scrolled through Tom’s latest pictures of himself in cool places, there it was. A teaser for new music. Some wept whilst others simply celebratory tweeted, “yas“. And a few days later we were gifted with the album title track, Wrong Crowd. 2 months later, on 10th June 2016, we finally received Tom Odell’s second album. (A whole actual album. We are not worthy.) So now that it’s here, it’s only right we review the actual
FUCK out of it.
Like his debut album, piano is very much a very a strong element throughout. But that’s what Tom Odell is known for and he’s a insanely talented piano player, so of course he’s carried on that theme. However, there is not as much focus on the piano in Wrong Crowd. He’s now made use of keyboards and electronic effects instead of having the clean piano sound and has incorporated the likes of guitar and bass more. Before it was solely piano and driving drums.
In this album, it is clear Tom has matured in life and in songwriting since Long Way Down, exploring darker themes and lyrics are very to the point. Title track Wrong Crowd, doesn’t have the clean piano or driving drums. He has very much explored electronic elements and different production when it comes to this song. Starting with the focus on the distorted piano riff, with snappy drums which progresses with the focus moving to the vocals and guitar. Despite the change in direction, there is still a familiarity to the song, for example the background vocals and vocal style is still similar to before. Overall, it is an extremely interesting song carried by its story and vocal elements.
Other stand out songs on the album are Magnetised, Constellations and Mystery. Mystery is a very simple, beatiful ballad and just one of the few in the album. Overall, the album is a collective mix of soft, piano melodies and uptempo dark mysteries. It clear Tom’s music is slowly evolving but he hasn’t strayed too far from his debut which provides a sense of familiarity. Wrong Crowd lives up to fans expectations and more. An album that was definitely worth waiting for and is defintely worth a listen.
Lauren Patterson @ Club Decode 2016