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Album Review: Lewis Watson - The Morning

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After what has felt like the longest wait ever, the latest acoustic-guitar-wielding sensation to hit the UK music scene, Lewis Watson, is releasing his debut album, In The Morning. After building up a large online fanbase which includes 80,000 YouTube subscribers and 72,000 Twitter followers, Lewis Watson has set standards high for himself in the mission to beat the success of the five EPs he has produced in the space of just two years.

Talking to Nouse last year, Watson said of the debut: 'I've written it all over summer and now we've got enough new songs for it to have maybe half the album as completely new songs, which I'm really happy with as I'd feel like I was short-changing you if I was just re-packaging old tracks and saying it was an album.' Watson has pretty much stuck to his word here, as only four of the eleven tracks have been heard on previous material. There is one track from each of his EPs, with exception to his most recent collaborative EP. I am glad to see that 'Into the Wild', which is arguably the best song Watson has ever produced, is included, as well as remastered versions of 'Close' and 'Windows', which, in my opinion, should both have been left in their original state, although that is probably because I am more comfortable with the familiar. Although 'Windows' is not Watson's best work, and there are other songs (perhaps 'Even If') that I would have preferred to see included, I am clutching at straws as it's still a very good track.

There are so many good things to say about the new material too. Opener 'Stones Around the Sun' strikes out a little from Watson's usual style. The spaced-out synths make an interesting contrast to the minimalistic chord structure and slow pace, while 'Outgrow' is beautifully bittersweet, encompassing the sentiments which often go with Watson's lyrics in just the right way. 'Stay', which has been doing the rounds for a while, has the one property which is common to all good Lewis Watson songs - it absolutely never gets old. The emotions are palpable through the expressive lyrics: 'It was so clear but now it's gone/ I couldn't keep my eyelids shut/ Why can't you stay?/ If only I could dream, we could start again'. This song is a prime example of how Watson is able to take a simple idea and make it into something mesmerizing.

Watson tackles a tricky subject with tact in 'Halo', and the female backing vocalist really compliments the song here. The final song of the record, 'Castle Street', is one of the best, documenting the conflicting emotions at the end of a relationship with astounding accuracy, demonstrating that anyone can connect with and empathise with Watson's music. The album stands together as a coherent whole, although the more melancholy tracks, 'Holding On' and 'Ghost', begin to cloy at points as Watson's self-pitying becomes difficult to listen to. These two sound like they belong with EPs written when he was less mature.

Overall though, Watson's first LP shines. This release will successfully entertain long-time fans, and being as accessible as it is, it is sure to appeal to a whole new audience too. I think there is a lot to be proud of in this release and I can't wait to see it played live.

Listen to: 'Into the Wild', 'Stay', 'Castle Street', 'Outgrow'.

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