Album Review: PORCELAIN, MATT CARDLE

On the back of the release of his newest album Porcelain this week, Matt Cardle has announced a nineteen date tour in April 2014.

Porcelain, which seems to have arrived to critical acclaim and an Album Chart entry position of #11, shows a new side of this talented singer songwriter. The confidence of his two previous successful albums and his continuing run of sell out tours pours through every note. There are echoes of the past, some Seven Summers flavours and more than a hint of Darwyn, along with some very different  sounds that are going to draw in new fans. It’s also interesting to note that one of the co-writers of half of the tracks is his manager, Will Talbot, beloved of Matt fans for his dedication and devotion to Matt’s career (and for being a very nice bloke). So which songs from the album are likely to be featured on the tour? Let’s look at them and see if we can work out the likely frontrunners.

The album kicks off with In Chains, a plaintiff ballad with a bit of power to it. I’ve heard that this is one of Matt’s favourites from Porcelain, so I’d say it’s certain to be included. It’s highly likely that fans will sing the chorus with him – and with gusto. A great track.

Next comes the already successful Loving You. I think everything has been said about this duet with the brilliant Melanie Chisholm, who was one of the four other co-writers. Matt and Mel have performed this song together live and he’s sung it solo many times, so there’s no reason to omit it from the final selection.

When You Were My Girl is his current single. A departure from his usual style, this has a real funk feel and killer lyrics that are likely to make someone feel a little uncomfortable. On the video (and on the recording) he plays most of the instruments and backing vocals, so he might have to ask for help to perform this live. It’s a very catchy song, so I’d hope he would include it.

In places, Hit My Heart has echoes of Kiss Kiss by Holly Valance, which is not a bad thing. It’s faultless track, very lively, danceable and a must have I’d say.

A Little Too Late is very atmospheric – kind of like a scratchy old vinyl single with vocals reminiscent of his Darwyn days and some fine yodelling. I really love listening to it, but will this one translate to the stage? What’s your opinion? Whether he does or doesn’t perform it, I keep coming back to this track just for the vocal gymnastics.  I think it’s sneaking in as my favourite.

The piano intro to Not Over You has a kind of classic feel that is strengthened by the timeless simplicity of this song. I imagine listening to this alone, with a glass of red and a flickering candle, maybe with a single red rose lying on the table. It is a beautiful song, but I have to be in the right mood to listen to it. Nevertheless I think he might include this in a quieter part of his show. Sung live I reckon it will gain in intensity.

Mouth to Mouth begins with another solo instrument, this time a little Spanish style guitar. With snappy lyrics and very precise rhythms, I feel we should have dancers from Strictly with this song.

Your Kind of Love is another very precise and yet free track with a melody that plunges through several octaves and passionate lyrics that leave us in little doubt about what kind of love he means.

Matt is famous for his four octave vocal range, but most of those octaves range upwards and I get the feeling that This Trouble is Ours sits quite low down for him in places, although it lifts itself as the song goes on. It’s mellow and very easy to listen to with stunningly good lyrics, “back to back in silent fights,” for example. A great album track, but again, I’m not sure this will translate to a live performance. Matt is, of course, likely to prove me wrong.

Porcelain is another of Matt’s favourites and, as the title track, is pretty certain to be included. Will it be an opener or a closer? It’s deep, thought provoking and one of the albums slower tracks. I know this one isn’t everyone’s favourite, but I think that’s because it’s a grower – one of the few on the album that doesn’t make an immediate impression. I’ve listened to it several times now and liked it more each time. Matt with his philosophical head on.

Which are your favourites and which would you like to hear sung live?

 

©Sue Phillips 2013

 

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