Bar the success of his 2008 single "Broken Strings", - featuring Nelly Furtado but, crucially, covered by Girls Aloud - James Morrison has made his way fairly unobtrusively into the singer-songwriter major league. The Awakening consolidates that position in equally unspectacular fashion: a collaboration with Jessie J ("Up") makes another shaky bid at cross-generational appeal, but after that he settles into an unappealing groove of tepid soul ("Beautiful Life") and supermarket funk ("Slave to the Music"). Strings and expensive-sounding gloss are applied by producer Bernard Butler but unfortunately it's Duffy-era Butler, rather than the sweeping soul of his mid-90s David McAlmont collaborations.
James Morrison: The Awakening – review
Ally Carnwath writes on Africa and music for the Guardian and Observer