Balladry may have made James Arthur an X Factor champion, but he’s always been a singer-songwriter with a broader vision than your average acoustic troubadour. Building on the soul-pop foundations of 2016’s Back From the Edge, he sets his lived-in vocals to his richest palette of sounds yet. The drama and pomp of opener “You” suggests the Teessider absorbed a few tricks while contributing to The Greatest Showman: Reimagined, and he recruits Ty Dolla $ign and UK rapper Shotty Horroh for the spry hip-pop cut “Treehouse.” Those vocals demand a few stripped-back heart-tuggers, though, and the album’s reflective second half explores the twists and turns of love on “Empty Space” and the gospel-influenced “Naked,” while the graceful “Fall” evokes Arthur’s own struggles with addiction and anxiety.

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