The opening track of Olly Murs' third album, Right Place Right Time, could easily be mistaken for a Maroon 5 castoff. That song is Murs' current single 'Army Of Two' which is currently sitting at number 18 in the Irish charts. This is possibly his best single so far since he catapulting to fame on X Factor in 2009. The slick production and military drumming do not hurt its powerful delivery as a single. It goes against his usual cheeky chappy chipper which he displays in previous number one singles like 'Heart Skips A Beat' and 'Dance With Me Tonight'. 'Army Of Two' provides a distinct new sound and it sees him reaching the high notes with ease, not unlike Maroon 5's Adam Levine, and it oozes confidence that we expect from our pop stars nowadays.
'Troublemaker' was fantastic as the album's first single, even with the unnecessary addition of Flo Rida. There is something infectious about Olly Murs' music where it attacks your system and you somehow know all the lyrics before you realise that it is him on the radio.
However, the two first singles are misleading as album number three is swimming in ballads. We have not one, not two, not three but FOUR ballads in a row here and a few more scattered about. He cites Take That as an influence but what he has in sentimental lyrics, he lacks in the masterful emotional swell that lifts most Take That slow sets off the ground. 'Loud and Clear' includes a Coldplay-surging chorus of 'oh-oh-ohs' to add to the serious tone he is going for with this heartache chanson.
"Dear darlin', please excuse my writing. I can't stop my hands from shaking because I'm cold and alone tonight," he sings on 'Dear Darlin'. Letter writing in a pop song from the 21st Century? Well, I never. 'Right Place Right Time' and 'Hand On Heart' continue on this heartfelt journey that isn't completely believable. 'Hey You Beautiful' would have had potential to be a winning Olly Murs song but the line "sex is in your eyes" veers away from his nice lad image he has been projecting so well over the last three years. He is going for a new direction with this album - a more grown up approach - but what Murs does best is sing pop-soaked songs that people want to dance to and this is where 'Head To Toe' and 'What A Buzz' (which has summer single stamped all over it) come in to pick up the pace again.
When Murs is good, he is great but when he's not so good, he is extremely mediocre. He has already released the best tracks on this album as singles and it is a pity that this didn't continue for the other ten tracks.
Review by Louise Bruton