Let it be said that John Newman is neo-soul to the core - his distinctive vocal with a tinge of rasp giving him no option in the matter. That's not to say other influences don't play an important part throughout his music. 'Try' flirts with italo piano and jaunty strings which echoes '70s disco, while recent single 'Cheating' bounds around with tin-rattling break-beats from the shadows of '90s house.
But while the musicality of the record dips its toe in and out of genres, the subject of love remains prominently at the forefront. Whether Newman is reflecting on the difficulties of the heart on 'Easy' or crooning for forgiveness on 'Love Me Again', Tribute thrives on a rollercoaster narrative of broken relationships, gutsy emotions and broody intent.
What's more, the collection doesn't suffer from burn-out towards the finish. 'Running' is a pulsing mid-tempo with a strong whiff of Emeli Sandé to it, while 'Goodnight Goodbye' soars with a lofty chorus that is primed for an impressive live outing. The list of influences for John Newman's debut may be long, but rather than emulating his idols, he is in fact following in their footsteps - and Tribute gets him off to a very strong start.
Tracks to download: 'Try', 'Easy', 'Tribute', 'Gold Dust', 'Goodnight Goodbye', 'Love Me Again', 'Cheating'
If you like this, you'll like: Mark Ronson, Rebecca Ferguson, Emeli Sandé
Listen to John Newman's new album