Music | In The Middle review Luke Sital-Singh ‘The Fire Inside’

Being dubbed the Sound of 2014 is both a privilege and a burden. Unfortunately, for Luke Sital-Singh, who has remained in the spotlight since 2012’s breakout EP Fail For You, the weight of the accolade has rendered his debut album The Fire Inside on the underwhelming side of the spectrum.

A cacophony of singer-songwriter clichés contaminate a fistful of perfectly amicable melodies, most noticeably in ‘Greatest Lovers’ (hold on tight, we’ll flow together and we’ll know it’s alright) and ‘Cornerstone’ (every life has a cornerstone and you’re mine). In his defence, with a title as unimaginative as The Fire Inside itself, the listener is given plenty of indication, but the sheer amount is still a little unsettling.

Musically, Luke Sital-Singh can be proud of his mixture of heartfelt ballads and uplifting angsty pop-folk, with the standout track ‘We Don’t Belong’ coming ten tracks in. They can often be a bit one dimensional and bland, but perfectly hearty and filling, drawing regrettable and unavoidable comparisons to your Mum’s casserole. Melodically, Luke is well above his years, much like Jake Bugg, as demonstrated in ‘Fail For You’, an intricately picked slow burner described as a ‘romantic ode to a stranded killer whale’. Although down-tempo piano ballads ‘Lilywhite’ and ‘Nearly Morning’ showcase Sital-Singh’s varied instrumental expertise, the pair have been rather clumsily paired together in the middle of the record, and thus create a stale and unwelcomed change of pace that unfortunately stagnates the album.

The Fire Inside uniquely pairs pockets of promise with youthful inexperience and nauseous lyrics, creating an uncomfortable yet likeable listening experience. His comparisons to the British Bon Iver are perhaps a little too premature, but with a long future in the spotlight ahead of him there’s no doubt he could eventually fill that mould.

Dom Edge

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