Tom Grennan releases long awaited debut album ‘Lighting Matches’

Album Review Featured Review
8.5

ICM Rating

9

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Tom Grennan’s claim to fame was his collaborations with Chase and Status and Bugsy Malone and his earlier EPs which led him to be tipped as one of 2018’s most promising acts. Now with the release of Lighting Matches, he has not only delivered one of the finest albums of this year so far and proves he knows what he is doing but could we expect anything less from the Bedford-native. It hasn’t been an easy ride for Grennan, at 18 he endured a brutal gang attack triggering his turn to song-writing and consequently the end of his promising footballing career. In celebration of his debut album and his graft, he’s attempting to break the World Record for most live concerts in 12 hours next week each 15 minutes long with a capacity of ten guests – could it get any more intimate?

Lighting Matches opens up with the eponymous single from his third EP, ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’, Grennan opens up the album as he means to go on. ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ is a fan’s favourite with its high energy, huge chorus and embodies all things Tom Grennan into a track. He said, “I want to create a classic-sounding album that hopefully lasts for years, an album that doesn’t sound like anything else right now”. Next up is ‘Royal Highness’ and ‘Barbed Wire’ which follow in the footsteps of FWIBLF, more examples of the well-known Tom Grennan sound – upbeat tracks with anthemic choruses.

After the feel-good thrill of the album’s opening, Grennan slows the pace right down through ‘Run in the Rain’ highlighting his raw emotion and vulnerability. He sings, “Just give me the answers and give me the signs, Just give me the reasons to run in the rain and I’ll be alright”. Although it has entirely stopped the momentum which had been growing in the first few tracks, it is entirely justified. “Abroad” and “Lighting Matches” have a similar effect to winning the 3rd Place Play-Off at the World-Cup, to me, they are second-rate in the context of the first four tracks, not awful just the worst of the best. “Lucky Ones” sees him admit “I was made out of nothing, you were made out of gold”, this track will definitely be one of the most heartfelt moments when seeing him perform live, lighters-in-the-air and sold-out venues singing back – a truly special moment

He revisits tracks from his EPs ,”Something in the Water” and “Sweet Hallelujah”, which are my favourite tracks from the earlier EPs but it is a shame to not see “Praying” featured on the tracklist – as I believe that is the strongest track from all his work before the release fo this debut. “Make ’em Like You” sees Grennan fantasise about a girl which he claims “they don’t make them like you no more”, its an embodiment of his cocksure confidence and boisterous personality.

To sum up ‘Lighting Matches’ in 3 words: confident, energetic and genuine. Grennan has gone from strength to strength and has produced something truly marvellous. One thing’s for sure this is not the last we have heard from the Bedford-native.

Catch him on Tour later on in October 2018:

9 – Barrowland, Glasgow
10 – Northumbria Institute, Newcastle
11 – O2 Academy, Leeds
12 – Manchester Academy, Manchester
14 – O2 Academy, Bristol
15 – O2 Guildhall, Southampton
16 – O2 Academy, Brixton
18 – O2 Academy, Oxford
19 – O2 Academy, Leicester
20 – O2 Academy, Liverpool
21 – UEA, Norwich
23 – O2 Academy, Birmingham
24  – O2 Academy, Sheffield
25 – Winter Gardens, Margate

Good

  • Catchy
  • Powerful vocals

Bad

  • Momentum stops and starts

Summary

To sum up ‘Lighting Matches’ in 3 words: confident, energetic and genuine. Grennan has gone from strength to strength and has produced something truly marvellous.
8.5

ICM Rating