Tickets are now on sale for Tom Odell’s Belfast gig at The Telegraph Building on October 13.
Tom, precocious master of the ivories – is at the very top of his game. It’s not as if, with multiple awards and 1.8 million sales under his belt, the Chichester-born prodigy has anything to prove. Tom’s new album, Jubilee Road is set for release in October of this year.
Tickets are on sale from www.shine.net, www.ticketmaster.ie and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
Tom’s debut album, 2013’s Long Way Down, topped the charts in the UK, on the back of breakthrough smash, ‘Another Love’, and by late ’14 he was in the Top Ten again with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Real Love’, recorded for John Lewis’ Christmas ad campaign. Alongside standout tracks such as ‘Grow Old With Me’, ‘Heal’ and ‘Can’t Pretend’, public affection for Tom and his quaveringly emotional way with a tune was only deepend.
His second long-player, Wrong Crowd, pretty much replicated its predecessor’s success, hitting No. 2 in ’16, with another biggie aboard in ‘Magnetised’. Still only 27, he quickly strikes back with his third, Jubilee Road – a career-defining record, which saw the multi-talented young artist take full control of his music, not only writing, singing, and vamping up his vibrant piano style on all ten songs, but also self-producing them, providing horn arrangements on three tracks, and layering up his trademark backing choir largely out of multi-tracks of his own voice.
Packed with grandstanding melodies and scintillating performances, it is, its auteur proudly declares, his bravest outing so far, and also his most honest and personal. It features ten songs each in their own way destined for classic status, rivalling Tom’s own heroes Elton John and Billy Joel (who now count amongst Odell’s most vocal fans) for sheer imagination and quality. Leading the charge, the terrifically catchy, gospel-soaked ‘If You Wanna Love Somebody’ may just be his highlight so far.
For Jubilee Road, Odell corralled a small, close-knit team, which befits its themes of meaningful community. His backing trio included Max Goff, who has been his bassist since he first formed a backing band eight years ago, on moving from Brighton to London’s Goldsmiths college. Guitarist Max Clilverd also predates his major-label signing, and the three have developed a telepathic understanding across three albums, and some 500-plus gigs. On drums, their buddy and sometime live companion Andy Burrows (Razorlight, We Are Scientists) ably synced in with the kind of loose spontaneous playing they were after, while engineer Ben Baptie was so down with their programme, that Odell ended up giving him a co-production credit.
After recording mostly in London, the finishing touches on the album were achieved in New York, where the horn section (which included one member of the Dap Kings) played on three-tracks in an exhausting one-day session.
Odell rightly makes no bones about his pride in Jubilee Road, and its completion according to his own vision is all the validation he needs. “I never got into this to be the biggest and best. I just love making music and I love jamming with my band, and I hope I get to do it forever. I feel like for the last ten years I’ve been working towards making this album. Every gig, every song has been pointing towards this. It’s the body of work I’m most proud of.”
Some may be tempted to scour Odell’s lyrics for salacious implications about his private life; others may be hellbent on finding the ‘real’ Jubilee Road. Interviewers might better deploy their face time with this perceptive, well-travelled songsmith by asking him how he sees the world: about the generational tensions between the baby boomers, on whose watch the world heedlessly plunged into debt crisis, and the youth now left relatively impoverished and downtrodden; about the debilitating effects of Instagram, and the soullessness of post-millennial “quantized” pop; and of course about the greats of piano, ranging from Nina Simone and Oscar Peterson, through to Shostakovich and Liszt.
Most of all, though, Jubilee Road itself is something to shout about: a fabulously cohesive collection which makes a mockery of the supposed ‘death of the album’ with its artful weaving of themes, and rollercoaster emotions. It confirms, if confirmation were needed, that the voting academy at the Ivors know their onions: Tom Odell is a songwriter from the very top drawer.