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Matt Cardle - Porcelain Album Review

Porcelain Album Signing - HMV Chelmsford Oct 2013
Christmas is coming, but the goose isn't quite fat. It is however time to sit and think about what you'd all like Santa to bring you for Christmas, and as in my house this normally means some kind of musical entertainment, I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring some music posts to These City Days.

Matt Cardle released his third studio album, titled Porcelain on October the 28th, and it has presented rather more of a review challenge than anticipated. Normally I find it quite easy to earmark what I believe to be potential singles, and what are 'album tracks', but just when I thought the lyrics were a little too 'bubblegum' on one track, or another took too long to get going, along comes an instrumental, a strong hook in a chorus, or smooth change of mood or tone to keep me interested. I am well used to delving into the different elements of the song for a review, but here I think it's about looking at the whole package - so while 'Hit My Heart' for example, may not have the same lyrical edge and originality as his Seven Summers tracks, the song as a whole is very infectious party tune.

There are hints of post X Factor preen and polish in the production of 'Porcelain', but that's no bad thing, I think the album needed that to show off the slick, soulful, rock grooves to good effect. The instrumentation is balanced and blends well throughout all the tracks, and I love the live feel to it. I can sit back, relax, and pick out a beautiful piano melody, or catchy bass line without it being distorted by effects.

So what will I remember from 'Porcelain' in the coming months? Zoe my Aussie pal and I both agree that 'When You Were My Girl' is an instant, stuck in your head, kind of hit. Matt looks very comfortable performing his socks off in the video, and the groove is insanely danceable. It sounds even better on CD than it did on Youtube. Definitely a track I hope to hear live one day.

Another highlight is 'This Trouble Is Ours', a combination of British folk and soaring pop ballad that belongs on a soundtrack to an animated film. The vocal tones are pitched just right, and almost bought a lump to my throat. I wasn't as keen on the slower numbers in Matt's previous albums, but he has won me over this time.

Listen out for an edgy R&B vibe on 'Mouth To Mouth', delicate sentiments on final track 'Porcelain', and a slight nod to Matt Cardle's early metal band days in 'In Chains'. This track is one of those that's took a while to get going, but illustrates how Matt has benefited from learning to use his voice in the right way. He is pushing his vocal limits, but he is comfortable doing it, which makes this album very easy to listen to.

There have been some beautiful songs on previous albums 'The Fire', and 'Letters', and I wouldn't take anything away from those, but what this album has is an anthemic quality which will give it staying power in the years to come. I think Matt Cardle was always heading in a soulful rock direction, and it's nice to see he has arrived.

'Porcelain' is on-sale now via HMV, I-Tunes, and Amazon. Visit www.mattcardlemusic.com for more information, and details of the 'Porcelain' 2014 tour. If the album will be making it's way under your Christmas tree, or you have any other music wish-lists do let me know.

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