It seems as if Charlie Simpson has spent the last 13 years trying to work out exactly what kind of music he would like to be making. He left the boyband Busted while they were still enormously successful, later explaining that he had been "unfulfilled". He went on to form Fightstar, a post-hardcore/emo band beloved of metal mag Kerrang!, and eventually put them on hiatus, too, in favour of a more acoustic-led solo career. This, his second album under his own name, suggests he has finally found his sound. Long Road Home wears its Jeff Buckley/Bon Iver/Mumford & Sons influences transparently and sweetly, and his pop apprenticeship shines through in the form of enormous hooks – the title track and Ten More Days in particular are reminiscent of the (American) radio-friendly pop-rock peddled by OneRepublic. It is a little too glossy where it should be jagged, but there are inventive touches – the flat brass on Emily and the choral layers of Forty Thieves provide moments of intrigue.
Charlie Simpson: Long Road Home review – Busted singer finds his indie-folk voice
Rebecca Nicholson is a columnist for the Observer and the Guardian