Random Access Memories
Time to see if anything good can come out of BBC One's The Voice.
They didn't get much joy out of surprise series winner Leanne Mitchell, but there was always something about Tyler James, the sweet-voiced big-haired old pal of Amy Winehouse. While he was never demonstrative enough to pull in the votes, he had a quiet soul power and impeccable falsetto that suggested there was a future.
He's certainly got a past. Credited as the man who secured Winehouse her record deal, James has been signed to Island Records before. Now he's got a second bite at the cherry and signs are he's going to make something of it. When he gets warmed up, that is.
A Place I Go puts James's admittedly great voice centre stage, and he's convincing and soulful throughout, feeling the pain on crisp ballad Single Tear, chronicling a sick relationship on the trip-hoppy Worry About You and having a decent, understated stab at Steve Winwood's Higher Love.
With input from will.i.am and dubstep soulman Jamie Woon, all the credentials are right, but the album suffers from over-earnestness and a samey pace. James does let rip on the Motown chorus of Baby Don't Care but it's too little too late. He's capable of losing his cool and should do more often. Even so, an interesting real-deal of a debut.