Five years have gone since the previous release by Matt Cardle, the winner of the seventh UK edition of the X-Factor. Over this long break Matt fought against his struggles with alcohol and drugs, and he is now ready to portrait to the world his new found energy in Time to Be Alive.
Higher Power gradually introduces Matt Cardle’s new style: electronic pop with hints of rock and soul, and even gospel. This is not the strongest song within the album, but it has a quite catchy chorus and it intrigues the listener to discover more about Matt Cardle’s latest project.
Although I appreciate Matt’s audacity to experiment with a new music sound and his honesty to sing about his own personal struggles, I believe that Time to Be Alive lacks of strong songs easy to recognise and fall in love with: Matt Cardle’s vocals and his emotional story are not enough.
Regarding his voice, I must say that though in some songs like I’m Not Letting Go Yet and Desire where Matt Cardle’s voice shines through synth melodies, in Crazy Love his vocals are suffocated by too many effects.
Finally, the album concludes with an endless slow ballade, She. Though it’s interesting to conclude Time to be Alive with the least electronic pop song in the album, eight minutes of moans and sad lyrics is way too much.
In this new album, Matt Cardle enters in the electronic pop world leaving behind his traditional guitar led style. Although you can still enjoy his good vocal skills, at times his voice is too over modified through vocal effects: something that it is not really necessary in this case. Finally, sometimes it seems like Matt Cardle holds his energy back and therefore fails to move the audience.