Back from the Edge

Back from the Edge

James Arthur’s second album embodies the sound of a man who’s traveled a hard road and wants to make amends. His doleful voice—all pain, all grain—is set to a menacing, hard-boiled soundtrack of chugging blues guitar and stomping hip-hop beats, as on “Back from the Edge.” Banks of vocal harmonies lend gospel-infused intensity, particularly on the pleading “Phoenix.” The reflective, folky “Say You Won’t Let Go” and “Can I Be Him” are welcome tender moments, especially when set against the soul desperation of “Train Wreck.”

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