Tom Odell, our favorite underground English heartthrob rises again to the surface with October release, Jubilee Road. Typically distinguishable by his rich emotional vocal delivery, Odell is an indie singer-songwriter from Sussex well-known for a few of his pop tracks but truly valuable for his poignant ballads. Much of his work to date are chronicles of sadness, which makes the promise of anything with “jubilee” in the title very interesting.
Right from the start, the sound takes us in an exciting new direction. Title track “Jubilee Road” gives a great taste of what the entire album brings. Things sound not only as if Odell has taken up a step in production, but perhaps a positive step in subject matter as well. In fact, what songs on the album might begin like some of his poetic laments of the past all eventually pick up with bold new identity. Odell’s talents behind the piano are now backed up with more instrumentation, heavenly harmonies, and some speed too! Claps, banjos, and saxophone solos explode like fireworks for Odell. Backup vocals and the guest Vox of Alice Merton in “Half as Good as You” are beautiful. Even a few odd-ballers on the track-list feel sped up and very poppy, but are not enough to put the style out of place. The result is a very classy collection of powerful pieces, reminiscent of Florence Welch or Elton John.
He may not be a superstar yet, but Jubilee Road is very promising, and easily Odell’s most thorough work so far. He has moved on from the melancholy revolutions of an indie singer-songwriter and created something much more powerful. This album is spectacular new work, changing his game drastically. There is now much to look forward to in the future, and hopes of watching a new classic rise.