THE LATEST ALBUM RELEASES RATED AND REVIEWED
ELIZA AND THE BEAR – GROUP THERAPY ★★★★★ ELIZA and the Bear’s second album offers an upbeat, inspiring take on issues around mental health with a more synth-pop vibe than their debut.
Lead single Real Friends is a highlight and truly difficult to resist dancing along to, while Rerun and First Aid are slower, more melancholy moments with Sweat Out The Small Stuff a optimistic and poignant end to the album.
The London-based group has magically constructed an LP that has real significance in encouraging conversation about mental health, while also encouraging cheer and a bit of a dance.
SHERIDAN SMITH – A NORTHERN SOUL ★★★★★ THIS is Sheridan Smith’s first album of original songs and she’s clearly given it a lot of thought, having worked with writers including Grammy-winning producer Jimmy Hogarth.
Smith has had a difficult few years following her father’s death in 2016, as well as her own health issues, and lays herself bare in this jazzy, soul-infused collection.
Her bluesy vocal suits the vibe, particularly on the slower songs with a big band element, such as the excellent The One and groovy Remedy In The Melody.
A highlight is the poignant Are You Just Sleeping, a song about losing a loved one, while Why Can’t I Fall In Love could be a pop at the headlines that have long focused on her “unlucky-in-love” status.
JESSIE J – THIS CHRISTMAS DAY ★★★★★ THERE were some quiet years from the singer/songwriter before the release of R.O.S.E. in September 2017, then three months in China competing on Singer 2018 –where she became the competition’s first European winner.
Now Jessie J has focussed on ramping up festive cheer with her first Christmas album.
It is a selection of well-trodden classics, plus the title song – the album’s only original track.
She hasn’t stepped far from her regular style and hasn’t really added anything new to these Christmas staples, which is rather disappointing. With a great voice and vocal range, this collection could have been so much more.