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Harrison Craig’s Debut Covers Album Proves He’s An Old Soul Vocally

Harrison Craig in Studio

REVIEW

HARRISON CRAIG

MORE THAN A DREAM (UNIVERSAL)

COME on, as soon as Harrison Craig took the Josh Groban ballad Broken Vow into The Voice as his audition song you already knew how his potential winner’s album was going to sound.

And that’s exactly how it sounds – Michael Buble meets Josh Groban. It also sounds like the kind of grown-up pop album that’s going to sell by the truckloads; bypassing 2013 cool to woo the demographic who still buy albums (mainly Buble’s) and can’t be bothered with these newfangled download things.

In the grand tradition of rush-recorded (three days!) winner’s albums, it gives the people what they want – the songs he sang on The Voice.

There’s shiny, lush, applause-free versions of Broken Vow, You Raise Me Up (another epic ballad Groban popularised) and Michael Buble’s Home, as well as Elvis’ I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You and the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody.

Credit to Craig, he knew his vision from the get-go; with no need to be moulded by anyone else. There’s no modern updates of the old songs he’s chosen, respectfully sticking to the way they were made and the way he’s clearly sung them for years. And it’s not like the dude had months to work on new arrangements.

Likewise, there’s no token or ill-fitting attempts at rock or dance; just the Latin-tinged oldie It Had Better Be Tonight that Buble’s already updated. Otherwise welcome to ballad city people.

The main omission here is any more original songs, just as-seen-on-TV title track which he co-wrote.

His underwhelming winner’s single Unconditional is a Ne-Yo album track, not an `event’ single. It’s underwhelming sales are an instant barometer of how Australia don’t want him to sound.

Ne-Yo will make more money than Craig will out of this album’s songwriting royalties. One of the new covers here is Rihanna’s Take a Bow, co-written by Ne-Yo.

It’s the most ‘modern’ song he’s recorded – tellingly it’s a simple piano ballad but it is interesting to hear his very precise, musical-theatre style take on Rihanna’s original angst-ridden version. If you’ve ever wondered what a Rihanna song would sound like with any urban flavour or R &B vibes removed, wonder no more.

Another new remake is Stevie Wonder’s All in Love is Fair – admittedly he hasn’t got Stevie’s soul but he is far from out of his depth on the well-chosen cover that requires industrial-strength pipes towards the end.

There’s also the Broadway staple I’m Always Chasing Rainbows, best known for being sung by Perry Como and Judy Garland, which is clearly the kind of song Craig has been listening to instead of LMFAO, EDM or MKTO.

Whoever gave Craig the John Farnham hit One to re-record knows what they’re doing – setting up a lucrative future career of Mother’s and Father’s Day albums. The kid sings it so sweetly you realise that, vocally at least, he’s an old soul. Kind of like last year’s winner Karise Eden too, but without the drama.

3.5 stars

More Than a Dream is released today.

Cameron Adams

MPZ ROCZ

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2013 by in New Releases, NEWS, POP.

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