The debut album of a former X Factor contestant never fails to pique our interest.
Why? Because not only have there been some surprisingly solid efforts in recent years, but more often than not they're better than the output of the winning act (see Rebecca Ferguson, Olly Murs, Diana Vickers).
As you can imagine, then, we were mightily intrigued when we were invited to give Marcus Collins's new LP a spin - particularly as it's the quickest post-XF release we can think of.
We still have mixed feelings about the lead single 'Seven Nation Army'. We initially admired the brave decision to release a White Stripes cover (until we found out it was a cover-of-a-cover), but we're pleased to report that there are easily five original songs on the album that could have lead it instead.
The tracks in question were mostly co-written by Marcus too, from the feel-good 'Love & Hate' to the jazzy, horns-at-dawn 'Mercy'. Each of the eight original numbers are essentially glossy pop songs with clever lyrics and addictive hooks (he makes reference to Kylie's 'Just A Little More Time' in 'Don't Surrender').
Our instant favourites were 'Mercy', his cover of Janelle Monae's 'Tightrope' (trust us, he pulls it off rather well) and the Gary Barlow-penned 'Feel Like I Feel' which, believe it or not, is not a ballad. In fact, the intro immediately brought to mind Take That's 'Relight My Fire'.
Our only quibble with the record was that for an album many people will hastily label as "soul", it lacks just that. Marcus's vocals are always on point (he has a "great recording voice", etc), and the production is as polished as his get-up, but there's little genuine feeling here, save the closing number 'Break The Chains'. That said, he proves himself to be an impressive songwriter, which has us all kinds of excited for Tulisa's debut album.
You can listen to a sampler of the album below:
Are you excited about Marcus Collins's debut album? Leave your comments in the box below: