Random Access Memories
Ah, the good old X Factor – it can either make you or break you.
Or it can discard you gently, leave you be for a little while and let you craft a careful debut album that says something about you and not the maelstrom you've been caught up in. That's the rare benefit reaped by Aiden Grimshaw – an early casualty of the 2010 live shows – who's signed to a quieter outpost of Sony and taken the time to find his feet.
The bequiffed Lancs lad was a bit of a square peg on the show with a studiedly uncomfortable manner and a taste for fidgety theatrics. He wasn't the beaming pop prospect we'd become used to, and Misty Eye cements that impression.
It's pop, but not as we know it. Unless we were brought up on a strict diet of gloomy European synth pop, that is. Grimshaw has a strong, deliberately colourless voice that suits the austere shadows of Poacher's Timing and the title track, but he also has the emotional power to make an event of more direct fare like Curtain Call.
He even steps out of the dark now and then to spar with rapper Smiler over the Italo house pianos and breakbeats of What We Gonna Be, or sing a skyscraping chorus over the Massive Attack strings of Nothing At All. Versatility, you see, and courage – not the usual traits of an X Factor alumnus, but Grimshaw is feeling his own way.