Back in 2017, Harry Styles’s self-titled debut solo album attempted to rebrand his image from teen heart-throb to 1970s rock star, although many would argue he still leans heavily towards the former. With the release of his follow-up Fine Line, his idols – Bowie, Queen, Pink Floyd – are less to the fore as Styles begins to find his own niche.
He still sings the blues on breakup ballad Cherry, and gives us a taste of old school rock’n’roll on the jolly Canyon Moon and Treat People With Kindness. But the album’s most endearing moments are when he experiments. Sunflower, Vol 6 – perhaps the result of one of the magic mushroom trips he told Rolling Stone about – sounds like it was bathed in southern California sunshine. “Let me inside, I wanna get to know you,” he coos over a breezy ska rhythm.
The six-minute jamming session She and second track Watermelon Sugar both show off Styles’s voice, its raspy undertones cutting through the funky horns and guitar riffs. He even manages to make “I want your belly” sound like a convincing come-hither. Adore You proves he can handle a modern, electronic bassline over watery synths – previously uncharted territory for Styles – and “I’d walk through fire for you, just let me adore you” is his catchiest hook to date. Fine Line is a confident step in Styles’s whimsical musical adventure.