Lewis Watson | Midnight
“Less is more,” they say. But they obviously haven’t heard Lewis Watson’s second album.
The follow-up to 2014’s ‘the morning’ largely eschews his debut LP’s quiet, acoustic-based folk in favour of a bigger, fuller sound. Or, in simple terms, a “more is more” approach. And instead of his personal lyrics and heartfelt vocals being drowned out, they sound more emphatic and impassioned than ever before, bolstered by the newfound power of the music.
Clearly emboldened by the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, latter-day Bon Iver, and the all slaying ‘Eyes Open’-era Snow Patrol, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter has crafted 11 widescreen anthems that, like the Springsteen song namechecked along the way, will either have you “dancing or in the dark” or “sitting ’round crying over a broken heart”.
The muscular album opener ‘maybe we’re home’, expansive ‘when the river meets the mountains’, urgent ‘forever’, and triumphant ‘give me life’ (big on the chiming guitars and soaring choruses that drove Coldplay to the top of the charts) certainly fall into the former category, still leaving Watson plenty of scope on the “broken heart” front.
There’s the mid-tempo optimism of ‘little light’ (“I was caught in a cocoon but now you’ve got me feeling butterflies”); majestic lighter anthem ‘deep the water’; tender R&B-flavoured slow jam ‘la song’; fragile ‘hello hello’, which adds skittish electro beats to the palate of acoustic guitars, piano, and string section; barebones ‘run’, a song so intimate, it begins with a deep sigh from Watson; and ‘slumber’, a tranquil, confessional duet with Lucy Rose that underlines the confidence running through the many shades of ‘midnight’.