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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'All The Lost Souls' (Atlantic)
Artist - James Blunt

The new album "All The Lost Souls" travels through life and death, presenting the ups and downs of James's extraordinary journey. The album draws on influences from many artists of the 70s - Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and a touch of Bowie - and tells us most of what we need to know in the title.

Blunt has recorded a selection of songs that follow on naturally from "Back to Bedlam". The musical range is ballad to mid-tempo, all of it expertly played and produced. The point of Blunt, however, is his lyrics, which are calculated to produce a pounding in sensitive bosoms. Already in the opening "1973", the British singer is wishing he was sober, while by the time we reach "Give Me Some Love", he confesses to having taken a shipload of drugs. He wants to share his pain at being a successful pop star whose soul is in torment.

"All the Lost Souls" is so similar to "Back to Bedlam" that it will no doubt keep his fans happy but will also fail to win over any of his critics. The retro-inspired "1973" is a classic pop hit while those anticipating the love ballads of his debut album will not be disappointed with the tracks "I Really Want You" and "Carry You Home".

His live band lifts the lyrics and succeeds in creating an impressive background of catchy beats and rhythms. But while there is plenty of material for his fans to enjoy there's also plenty of clichés which show Blunt's banality and lack of range - "1973" is the only attempt to branch out from his comfort zone and even then he doesn't venture too far.

In conclusion, "All the Lost Souls" is an album calculated to keep his fan base pleased. Love or loathe him, he's back to sell a few more million albums!