Conor’s second album is as deftly infectious a collection of songs as his chart-topping, four hit single-spawning debut, ‘Contrast’. But it’s also more adventurous, more mature and more dazzlingly diverse. The old fans will be delighted. The new ones will wonder what’s hit them.
When Conor released single ‘R U Crazy’ featuring Labrinth, there was no formula to follow, but he ripped up the rulebook anyway. The silver-selling, dancefloor-filling, bass-heavy Top 5 hit was a dark, stark step away from Conor’s R&B roots that connected with older fans.
Further sessions with Labrinth last year produced single ‘Royalty’, which include jazz trumpets, swing, sawing strings and piano, blended seamlessly with futuristic electronic R&B.
What ‘Royalty’ has in common with much of the album is its reclaiming of retro sounds for the present day. Lead single ‘Talking About’ updates ‘90s garage with modern production. That it was written with Craig David, a childhood hero of Conor’s, makes it all the more authentic.
On the album’s slower songs you’ll hear how beautifully Conor’s voice has matured. On ‘This Is My Version’, co-written by Conor and MNEK and produced by The Invisible Men, his devastatingly soulful vocal captures his hurt in the aftermath of a break up. On sultry, acoustic guitar-accompanied love song ‘A Little’, written by Jason Luttrell, Conor summons the spirit of vintage R Kelly with the album’s most intimate vocal performance.
Since releasing ‘Contrast’, Conor’s life has changed; from the release of his first single, Conor finally feels like the artist he hoped he would become.
“When my first album came out, I was 19,” he recalls. “I’d only just moved out of my parents’ house and I wasn’t really sure what was happening. I kept recording and suddenly, we had an album. With the new album, I’ve taken my time and made exactly the music I wanted to.”