Rag’n’Bone Man: Life By Misadventure review – a heartfelt follow-up

(Columbia)
Delicate developments are drowned out by stadium songs that mistake volume for passion on Rory Graham’s second album

There’s a lot riding on this second album from bluesman Rag’n’Bone Man, AKA Sussex-born Rory Graham. His 2017 debut, Human, shifted more than 1m copies in the UK. It would have been easy to replicate that album’s rote formula – rootsy production flourishes fused to rugged, stadium-sized MOR remains chart catnip – but instead, Life By Misadventure opens with two delicately plucked, country-tinged singalongs, immediately eschewing Graham’s propensity for the epic.

In fact, aside from galloping lead single All You Ever Wanted, which channels early 00s indie-pop, and the earnest, advert-ready ballad Anywhere Away From Here (a duet with Pink), the songs here feel less eager to please. The pensive Fall in Love Again unfurls delicately, while the darker Party’s Over showcases the album’s main lyrical themes of heartache and emotional rehabilitation.

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