2021 • POP/ALTERNATIVE • Insanity Records
British singer Tom Grennan’s second album shows several improvements, but it’s too far away from something that really stands out.
“I think I went into this album being a boy and came out as a man,” Tom Grennan told Apple Music about the personal evolution process he went through on his second studio album, Evering Road, which bears the name of the street on which he grew up. The record, which appears three years after his debut Lighting Matches, was set by Grennan as a therapeutic process that took him to a new, lighter, and calmer phase. Featuring Soul and Gospel influences, Evering Road presents something more mature and digestible than everything Grennan has shown so far, however, it remains mediocre and rarely impressive.
Indeed, Evering Road is better targeted and more cohesive than Lighting Matches. While the British singer’s debut seemed like a junction of rock and indie sounds that struggled to deliver something catchier, Evering Road seems more determined where it wants to go and what it is going to do. The influences of Jazz and Soul that were already seen in Grennan’s previous work here appear firmer and concrete and not just synthetic sounds played here and there. Furthermore, the record’s theme seems to follow a direct logical thread. Although it is not something that really fits together as a closed package, it makes more sense as a final set. However, despite all these improvements, Grennan seems to struggle a lot to get out of something mediocre and forgettable.
Evering Road‘s first songs are the best on the record. This is perhaps because these are the first contact with the new material and they still sound new and fresh. The album’s opener, “If Only,” although very generic, is very fun and manages to give a very condensed summary of what seems to be Grennan’s situation at the beginning of the album production. Then, on one hand, we have the stripped and carefree “Something Better” with an interesting progression, and on the other, “It Hurts,” a strong and powerful ballad with Tom beside a grand piano talking about the pain you feel when you are at the lowest point of your life. Meanwhile, we can observe the religious music trends that appear more in the sound of the album. In the catchy “Little Bit of Love” Grennan delivers a hook with church vocals and in “Amen” he uses the word broadly, almost thanking him for being alive. These first tracks show an evolution coming from Grennan, but then he seems to be a little lost.
Henceforth, Grennan does not deliver bad songs per se, but something that is not surprising and does not go beyond what was expected. Basically, they are simple music of sampled strings, percussion, and woodwind with compositions filled with catchphrases that seem to beg to be captions of photos on Instagram. The best example of this are “Never Be a Right Time” and “This Is the Place.” On the other hand, there are some songs that are really bad. “Oh Please” ages like milk, looking more and more like a noise mess. Meanwhile, “Second Time” is just forgettable, and “Sweeter Then” is kinda lyrically misdirected.
At the end of the record, fortunately, some songs end up saving the closure a little. “Make My Mind Up” is one of the most beautiful on the album, with Grennan singing in front of violins and pianos, self-questioning, “Asking am I good for you?/Are you good for me?” Likewise, “You Matter to Me” features the album’s strongest vocal, with powerful notes and Tom working on a wide vocal range. Unfortunately, at the end of the record, he bombards the tracklist with several songs like that that are unable to be memorable like these. At the end of the day, when Grennan says he came out of it like a man, you can only think that it was only on the last-second record that he really became a fully mature artist.