Album Review: Lawson – Chapman Square4 min read
Four piece pop-rock outfit Lawson seem to be on a steady path to success as they approach the release of their debut album this month. The foursome are hitting all the right notes with critics and gaining themselves quite the following. Impressing pop heavyweight Will Young, the band were invited along with the crooner to support him on last years Echoes tour, helping the band reach a large pop loving audience and keeping the momentum with the bands own success on an incline. Lawson have actually had a very successful support band career having opened for the likes of The Wanted, Avril Lavigne and The Saturdays as well as helping bow out Westlife on their final Farewell Tour dates earlier this year, perhaps as a way of being handed the batton from the hugely successful Irish quartet.
So far the boys have release a couple of impressive hit singles from the forthcoming parent record. First there was When She Was Mine which found a comfortable nesting place within the Top 5 in the UK charts and secured the band with their first major hit single. Released back in May it was Lawson’s first official single release and proved to be a superb introductory single for the band with its infectious and melodic acoustic guitar structure and a freshness that came hand in hand with the songs reflective mood. Up next came Taking Over Me which also landed nicely in the Top 5 and gave further promise of the album to come and also their biggest hit to date, reaching a peak number 4 position in the UK. A track built with the summer sun in mind, Taking Over Me cemented the bands signature guitar driven sound. Both tracks allowed the bands success to really lift off and get these boys noticed.
This week the collective released their third single Standing In The Dark to coincide with the unveiling of Chapman Square, the bands debut studio album. The latest release takes on a more balladic approach and offers us a track not just different in tempo to the previous two singles but one that shows Lawson as no one-trick-pony in the world of pop music, clearly able to tackle balladry to the same standard as they have mastered fast paced pop gems. Front man Andy Brown’s vocals are piercing on the single as he swings up to come impressive vocal peaks and puts his faultless falsetto into the spotlight.
The thing to admire about Lawson is that they seem to be doing things the right way in terms of their releases. I think back to the eighties and nineties when bands felt that they had to earn their place in the charts. They would offer us a series of singles before producing a record as a way to gain fans and find their place in the pop world. These days bands seem to offer us one single before an album is churned out resulting in a lifeless, soulless one hit wonder – take X Factor acts as a fine example. Lawson are taking the old school approach and testing the water a little with Chapman Square and I think that is something worth appreciating with this band. Taking their time to release this record and gradually teasing us with bigger and better singles over the past 6 months could be a defining decision in Lawson’s journey to the top of the charts not just in the UK but internationally.
With three meaty singles on constant rotation we wondered if Chapman Square would live up to the hype surrounding the band right now. And it certainly has. Lawson have tapped into the sound generated from each of the 3 released singles, that slightly cinematic and acoustic guitar driven backbone, as it sits heavily on each of the tracks on the band’s debut album.
Gone evokes a Coldplay-esque style with a track that could have easily been written for the fellow masters of pops recent Mylo Xyloto record. Its anthemic, stadium feel is a momentous addition to the opening of the record while its lyrics are anything but perky as vocalist Andy Brown sings of pain and loss over his band mates well-crafted instrumentation.
Learn To Love Again is another heartfelt addition to Chapman Square. Full of messages about forgiveness and the appreciation of a loved one, the track boasts a powerful melody and some flattering harmonies as we are offered another rich hit.
Love lost appears to run thick within the lyrical content of Chapman Square with Stolen showcasing Brown’s songwriting talents as he sings of being a ‘better man’ in a tale of regret and self-realization. A painful story of love lost but performed with pure conviction and remorse.
One of the key tracks on Chapman Square comes at the end of the record with the intimate closing of The Girl I Knew. For the track the band strip the instrumentation back to allow Brown to unleash a fantastic vocal feature over a gentle acoustic guitar driven number with some gorgeous strings modestly snaking their way throughout the number as well as the occasional piano key ringing within the verses.
Without a single filler to be heard on the release I am sure that Chapman Square is set to become one of the biggest releases of 2012 – and deservedly so.
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