On his 2017 self-titled debut, Harry Styles arrived in full singer-songwriter cosplay mode. Keen to outrun his boyband past, he donned an oversized acoustic guitar and transported himself to the 1970s. It topped the charts but faded quickly. Unsurprisingly, then, this third album favours the sound of 2019’s multi-platinum, Grammy-winning follow-up, Fine Line – all warm 80s grooves, clipped yacht rock and lyrics that touch on sex, drugs and expensive wine.
Across its 13 tracks, not a single moment is wasted, be it flab-free lead single As It Was, or the soft-pop flex of the excellent Late Night Talking. Both Daylight and Satellite, meanwhile, strut around shimmying melodies suddenly punctuated by stadium-ready crescendos. Even the rustic, listens-to-Fleet Foxes-once Boyfriends feels light-footed.
As with both his preceding albums, however, Harry’s House is occasionally hobbled by its lyrics. Songs such as Keep Driving feature meaningless word jumbles (“Cocaine, side boob, choke her with a sea view”), while the euphemistic Cinema (“You pop when we get intimate”) ties itself in knots trying not to say sex. These are minor quibbles, because ultimately Styles is more concerned with mood than minutiae. On Harry’s House he’s created a welcoming place to stay.