The first solo offering from Gary Barlow in 14 years, Since I Saw You Last is a blend of the old and the new. Tipping his hat to some of the success stories of the modern day music scene, Gary manages to keep each and every song grounded with his excellent songwriting and musicianship – an important quality when it comes to lasting power.
The album’s opening track Requiem was co written with Robbie Williams, and his influence on the song is undeniable. An upbeat, positive pop song, it isn’t a long stretch to imagine Mr Williams strutting the song on sage at one of his own concerts. However Gary handles the song brilliant.
Similarly the influence of English folk rock band Mumford and Sons can be heard in the album’s lead single Let Me Go. Light and skiffle-like, the song bounds along with a gentle sentiment and a different that will no doubt catch the ear of the casual listener. You can read my full review of the single here.
There is also a duet with music legend Sir Elton John on the insanely hooky Face To Face. The almost disco beat and catchy piano and vocal riffs are great and Gary’s smoother voice blends very nicely with Elton’s more powerful pop vocals. An excellent choice as the albums second single (due for release on January 20th, 2014.)
A hidden highlight of the album is the penultimate track: Dying Inside. This introspective and personal song is a brooding yet moving ballad with the albums most heartfelt lyrics, featuring only Gary on piano and a brilliant, eerily haunting cello provided by session musician Caroline Dale.
Overall Gary Barlow’s Since I Saw You Last isn’t an album that in any way sags or drags on too long. Not a massivly pop-y or rock-y album, this is instead the album of a true singer/songwriter. The influences are there but it’s purely a tip of the hat, it’s not like Gary is riding on the coattails of someone else’s success; instead he has used it as a jumping off point to develop something different and make his own. By all rights Since I Saw You Last should (and almost definitely will) hold up to the tests of time.
Since I Saw You Last
Let Me Go
Face to Face (with Elton John)
Small Town Girls
We Like To Love
Since I Saw You Last
More Than Life
Mr. Everything (Deluxe Edition bonus track)
Actress (Deluxe Edition bonus track)
The Song I’ll Never Write (Deluxe Edition bonus track)