John Newman’s Revolve does exactly what a second album should do: it builds on the promise of his first release without ever re-treading old ground, and in many ways takes a bold step in a bigger, brasher direction. Determinedly epic, it’s a collection of thundering choruses that genuinely has the power to move.
Newman’s voice is as striking as it has ever been, and though it impresses on every single one of Revolve’s tracks it leaves the largest impression on Lights Down, a juddering party anthem that has more wit and intelligence than most. Indeed, though the album’s tracks are first and foremost fist-pumping crowd-pleasers, they never feel reductive or simplistic, and even Tiring Game, arguably the most basic track on Revolve, benefits from a keenly observed lyric and some impressive backing vocals.
Things do unfortunately come to feel a bit samey about halfway through, nonetheless, and the album never gives itself enough breathing room to really come into its own. The sustained cry of energy that streaks across tracks like Give You My Love and Something Special like a comet through the sky does start to become slightly repetitive, and ultimately the album would have benefited from even the slightest moderation in tone.
But such a gripe is minor when compared to the album’s many successes. By the time the funk indebted strains of We All Get Lonely have closed out the record, one is left feeling uplifted, and overjoyed. This is a strong, serious work from a young musician who is destined to take a place at the table alongside pop’s very heaviest hitters.