Wednesday, October 10, 2007

All the Lost Souls

  In 2005, James Blunt was everybody's favorite overnight success story. In 2007, he's the guy who's making rock meaningful again. All the Lost Souls,, the sophomore effort from the Brit responsible for restoring the seriousness of "beautiful" as a compliment, brims with big build-ups, epic-sounding ballads, and lyrics to lose yourself in. The vibe, laid out neatly on first single and opening track "1973," is clear-eyed and heavy-hearted; in anybody over 35, it'll produce nostalgia tempered by hopefulness--here's a set that suggests rock has got its head screwed on straight again, that the path to real feelings need not necessarily be led by Norah Jones. In anybody younger, it'll cause the unsinkable suspicion that a lot of modern balladeers should be digging deeper. But in both cases it will satisfy. Compared with David Gray and Damien Rice last time out, this time Blunt seems to owe a debt to Barry Gibb--his voice quavers as sweetly and with the same delicate reach. Stand-outs on a brief but dud-less set include "I Really Want You," in which the sound of Blunt's breaking heart is set sparely and elegantly to something approximating the chirp of a cricket, the poignant and desperate "Give Me Some Love", and the VH-1 ready "Same Mistakes." -Tammy La Gorce

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