Al­bums...72

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We run the rule over new al­bums from Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Una Healy and Fin­bar Furey, as well as the T2 Trainspot­ting OST.

Hu­man SONY Key track: ‘Bit­ter End’

Brit soul star serves up the goods on glossy de­but Six foot two, big boned and wreathed in ink, Rory Gra­ham looks like no­body’s idea of a mass-mar­ket su­per­star. With his scowl and his tats, the artist oth­er­wise known as Rag ’n’ Bone man more closely re­sem­bles a bouncer en­joy­ing a well-de­served week­end away at a biker con­ven­tion.

“Peo­ple think I’m scary be­cause

I’m a big dude and I’m cov­ered in tat­toos,” Gra­ham said re­cently, com­plain­ing that his heft and in­tim­i­dat­ing aura had fos­tered mis­taken as­sump­tions re­gard­ing his mu­sic.

In truth, he’s miles from the stereo­typ­i­cal metal growler many have taken him for. Thirty-oneyear old Gra­ham is a sweet soul boy, with a voice that sug­gests a y-chro­mo­some Emeli Sandé, and a carry-on bag full of big-hearted bal­lads with Adele-scale po­ten­tial.

Gra­ham’s de­but al­bum has ma­te­ri­alised amid con­sid­er­able hype. The ti­tle-track was a pan-Euro­pean num­ber one last sum­mer (from Wal­lo­nia to Slove­nia it shot to the top like a bul­let), while the Sus­sex na­tive was re­cently awarded the Brit’s Crit­ics Choice Award for up­com­ing new artist (join­ing a club that counts Adele and Sam Smith as mem­bers).

The singer’s de­but al­bum is ma­chine-tooled to build on these achieve­ments. With pro­duc­tion by Mark Crew (Bastille) and Jonny Cof­fer (Bey­once, Naughty Boy), Hu­man is at pains not to put a foot wrong, with songs that ooze com­mer­cial ap­peal and por­tray Gra­ham as a lit­tle boy lost tip­toe­ing through a world of heartache.

He has the pipes no ques­tion, with ‘Bit­ter End’ show­cas­ing his fa­cil­ity for a bluesy ache and ‘In­no­cent Man’ (not a Billy Joel cover, crush­ingly) con­firm­ing his prow­ess as slow­jam­ming roots-rocker. In ad­di­tion to the ti­tle track, big chart mo­ments abound, from Adele-es­que power bal­lad ‘Grace’ to the stomp­ing ‘Ar­row’.

Iron­i­cally, if Hu­man lacks any­thing it is rough edges. Much of the in­di­vid­u­al­ity has been sand­pa­pered away, re­sult­ing in a record so slick it doesn’t give those of more eso­teric or avant-garde per­sua­sion much to hang onto. Gra­ham may be un­der­stand­ably fed up be­ing mis­taken for a ter­ri­fy­ing oik who wants your lunch money: to these ears, his re­sponse has been to play it justa lit­tle bit too safe.

OUT FE­BRU­ARY 10 / ED POWER

LEAD AL­BUM / 4102 / REVIEW ED POWER

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