London indie-pop rock artist Tom Grennan is back after his exceptional debut album with his new release 'Evering Road'.
Evering Road is an interesting collection of 16 songs, which show a huge variety in Grennan's sound throughout.
The first track on the album, 'If Only' opens up with thumping drums, and reintroduces us to Grennan's distinctive gritty vocals. The song builds to the chorus where Grennan's voice is accompanied by gospel choir-like backing vocals which can be seen on many occasions throughout the album.
In the next couple of tracks, we continue with the upbeat start to the album. 'Little Bit of Love' uses drums to give the track a good solid baseline which you'll easily find yourself tapping along to give it a good solid baseline which you'll easily find yourself tapping along to. The song is catchy and more upbeat than the previous, but the lyrical content isn't exactly as positive as you might think, with damning lyrics like 'Just like the air I'm breathing / These awful wounds ain't healing'. Something Better' leads in with a quirky piano which is clearly intentionally trying to sound awkward, which then gets successfully hidden behind the vocals as the chorus approaches.
We then quickly transition to 'Amen', a song based on an acoustic guitar melody dedicated to the concept of believing in something to get you through, even if you aren't religious. It's a song that appears upbeat on the outside, but with lyrics like 'Everybody hurts but Amen / Living in the dirt but Amen'. The chorus, linking with the title song, reflects a gospel choir and the type of songs you may expect to hear and a church service, but without being religious.
These gospel choir-esque vocals can be found consistently through the album on a number of tracks, including 'Amen'. Using these backing vocals could easily hide away the voice that Grennan is well known for, but credit must be given to the production team behind these songs as they never overshadow. The choir lifts up every song they are found on, and there's a great balance of songs with and without these vocals on them.
The middle section of the album begins to take a turn towards sadder, slower, and arguably more powerful songs. The thumping drums and baselines continue throughout but begin to represent pain and hurt, rather than the upbeat instrumentals we've been used to up until this point.
'Oh please' is the standout song of the album. It not only features powerful vocals, but also borderline orchestral instrumentals combined with the deep thumping drums we see on many of the other tracks. The oxymoronic nature of the instrumentals adds to the intensity of the song, and with Grennan's vocals emphasising the passion and fury in the lyrical content, makes the song a really interesting listen.
There's clearly a story of experimentation throughout Evering Road with some tracks staying safe into Grennan's classic style that could transition straight from his debut album, whereas others are a little more experimental. The collaboration with Ella Henderson 'Let's Go Home Together' is, unfortunately, one of the safer tracks. This is a shame as Ella Henderson has an incredible voice, and could have definitely been used to push a bit further, however it doesn't stop the track from being a good listen.
Overall, Evering Road is a great album, and the album closer 'Long Live You and I' will leave you feeling motivated and helps you recover from the sadder tracks which are placed throughout the album. The only issue to be had is it feels like it could have gone further, but it was consistently good throughout and there were tracks that pushed Grennan's boundaries a little further, but not enough to make you really sit up and think 'this is something new'. Evering Road is full of songs that are written and designed for radio play, which is perfectly fine, but it's just missing that something special.