Thursday, May 03, 2007

James Morrison remains 'Undiscovered'



Young James Morrison has "success story" written all over him. Drawing influence from soul greats like Cat Stevens, Otis Redding, and Van Morrison, debut album Undiscovered reveals this Rugby-born vocalist has the sort of world-weary voice and songwriting chops to take the Later...With Jools Holland path to mainstream success that's formerly made stars of Damien Rice, James Blunt, and former tour-mate Corinne Bailey Rae.

In keeping with his soul influences, much of Undiscovered (Interscope Records) has a full, warm multi-instrumental sound neatly rendered by Martin Terefe, producer for the likes of KT Tunstall and Ron Sexsmith.

1. Under The Influence
2. You Give Me Something
3. Wonderful World
4. The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore
5. One Last Chance
6. Undiscovered
7. The Letter
8. Call The Police
9. This Boy
10. Better Man
11. The Last Goodbye

"Under the Influence", a passionate upfront love song, is borne along on florid piano and Beatles-esque string arrangements, while the tear-stained "Wonderful World" matches its emotional message ("I know that it's a wonderful world/But I can't feel it right now") with optimistic brass and cascading percussion.

Album stand-outs come with "You Give Me Something" and the closing "Better Man", a solo acoustic number that really showcases the range of Morrison's voice. Purists may still baulk at the prospect of a white lad from the North of England singing soul, but the sure success of Undiscovered ought to prove that a strong voice will always be the bottom line.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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