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Album Review: Teddy Thompson – Bella

3 min read

Having already made a solid mark on the folk scene with his previous four studio albums, the UK’s Teddy Thompson is back this week with the release of album number five – Bella. The follow up to 2008’s UK Top Ten record, A Piece Of What You Need,  this latest offering is already gaining momentum with its first single, Looking For A Girl, lighting up the airwaves across the country.

Bella gives some broader and more mainstream insight into the work of Thompson than his previous releases and could very well be the record to finally garnish the London born singer/songwriter with international recognition.

TeddyThompsonBellaLooking For A Girl is the obvious standout here. The track is drenched in south west American flavors giving the record a wide appeal to music lovers and makes Bella altogether stand out among most of what the radio waves offer these days. Its catchy chorus lines and chord changes mixed in with some witty written lyrics (“I guess it’s good lovin’ that I want the most, Someone who turns my bread into buttered toast”) show off Thompson’s talents remarkably as one of the UK’s finest yet seemingly underrated song-smiths.

Delilah follows on the record and introduces a more mournful Thompson as he serenades a love lost by the name of…you guessed it…Delilah. The tone is sombre while Thompson tries his hand at being a modern day crooner as he skips over a melody crammed full of swaying guitars and a string arrangement with the singers occasional falsetto peaks.

Further down the album some haunting fiddle work offers darkness to Bella on Over and Over before the swaying, eerie vocals of Thompson and a middle eastern instrumentation gives a foreign feel to the record.

The track is ambitious and personally I can’t say that Thompson’s voice fits all that well with where the track is going and it leaves the singer sounding a little out of his comfort zone.

Take Me Back Again brings us back on track with one of the highlights on Bella. Mid tempo and flawlessly conceived, the track offers everything you can expect from a songwriter with Thompson’s penning ability and a voice that sits confidently and proudly as it bounces through vulnerable lyrics of plea.

Bella has an faultless balance of folk and pop appeal that combine to create a tight collection. It also sits well with an equally pairing of ballad (Take Me Back Again, Take Care Of Yourself and the acoustically stripped back Home) and up-tempo numbers (I Feel, the staccato driven The One I Can’t Have and the albums lead single, Looking For A Girl) which allows the record to never hit a boring note.

Vocally Thompson is strong throughout Bella and could easily be compared to fellow song-smith Ed Harcourt while retaining his country tinged roots that set Thompson apart.

Thompson’s trademark of catchy, hook heavy, country influenced pop records is evident once again throughout Bella and it’s a trademark that has carved a successful career thus far for a singer that is about the become one of the rising stars of 2011 with this fantastic collection of radio friendly folk gems. Bella is a superb album which sees Teddy Thompson’s year off to a very fine start.