A peculiar beast
Harrison Smith
15:14 12th March 2021

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Of his new album Evering Road, Bedford-born Tom Grennan has said “I’ve got into the nitty-gritty of what's going on in my head” - and he’s not lying. Loaded with raspy vocals and an abundance of Premier League-advertisement-ready choruses, Grennan’s rifles through the deep inner workings of his life; tackling a range of subjects from recent heartbreaks to troubling conflicts of the mind. Despite the admirable confidence and in-depth nature of this personal exploration, Evering Road falls just short of the mark. 

On his sophomore album, Grennan whips up an array of chart-pleasing tunes heavy on the strings and signature gravelly vocals. From the get-go, we are taken on an autobiographical jaunt, heavily reliant on the indie-soul-pop attributes that made his debut album Lighting Matches a best seller. Markedly stronger, however, is ‘Evering Road’ and Grennan is in confident form, leading a personal redemption to help make sense of a confusing world. 

With the memorable single and refreshing spin of toxic-masculinity confronting ‘Little Bit of Love’ already ruling the Radio 2 airwaves, Grennan cruises in a risk-averse gear for the majority of the album. Channelling the jaunty piano similar to that of early ‘Scissor Sisters’ on ‘Something Better’, there are moments where Grennan veers out of his comfort zone and more often than not, such experimentations do fall in his favour. Album highlight ‘Sweeter Then’, sees Grennan playing around with offbeat melodies and an astute touch of brass to create an understated minimalist groove; a sure-fire future open mic standard. 

On ‘Make My Mind Up’ Grennan’s observational lyrical creative capabilities are paraded well ("don’t leave me in charge of my own heart / Cause I don’t know what I want from love") and the listener is regaled with an array of inner turmoils consisting of relationship uncertainty, confusion and the unravelling final days that see off a particularly volatile courtship. 

Evering Road is a peculiar beast. Grennan does succeed at what he sets out to do lyrically - serving up a bounty of radio-friendly indie-soul, narrating personal tribulations, affirming self-confidence and the sharing of intimate musings - but you’re left feeling like he could’ve taken things a little further. Grennan has described the record as "the polar-opposite of a breakup album" and while this may be the intention, it becomes less obvious by the midway point as the tracks begin to follow a paint-by-numbers pattern. For an album with such lofty ambitions as this, you’re left yearning for something a little less risk-averse and a little more bewitching.

Evering Road is out now.

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Photo: Press