Follow Us on Twitter

Lemar - The Reason

Lemar, The Reason

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

LEMAR is one of the most successful black British soul artists working today and his fourth studio album, The Reason, is evidence of why. It’s a lively and diverse collection of hits in the making that come in a number of styles.

Lead single If She Knew is arguably the sound of what to expect from him: ie, smooth groove R’n‘B inflicted soul with more than a passing nod to the likes of Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. Yet Lemar delivers his vocals forcefully and with meaning, while the background synth that enliven the chorus lend it plenty of contemporary significance, particularly if you’re a fan of Ne-Yo’s music scene.

However, anyone anticipating an album full of these types of songs had best think again. Yes, there are plenty more ballads, but The Reason also knows how to mix tempos and change styles to keep listeners interested.

Trust Me, for instance, works around a funky beat and falsetto-style of vocals that Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse would be proud to call their own (and is a major highlight), while the retro-soaked Little Miss Heartbreaker is a real floor-filler, complete with shuffling back beats and a gutsy central vocal that’s hip, urgent and vibrant.

Weight Of The World, meanwhile, trades a hip-hop influenced backbeat with some smooth, husky vocals (reminiscent of both Maroon 5 and Enrique Iglesias at various points), and title track and album opener The Reason> thrives on some prominent piano loops, hand-clap beats and a lush, layered chorus. Both are damn fine pop-soul records.

Further highlights come from another of the retro-influenced cuts, Over You, which emerges as a fine, brass and strings influenced break-up anthem, and the piano driven slow-burner Mayday, which finds Lemar at his most romantic (but genuinely so). It’s a cracking ballad.

If the album peters out a little after that and relies too heavily on one too many ballads for its finale, that can just about be forgiven as what’s come before is so enjoyable. Lemar has delivered the goods to produce an album that can be savoured by many.

Download picks: The Reason, The Weight Of The World, Trust Me, Mayday, Over You

Track listing:

  1. The Reason
  2. Weight Of The World
  3. Heartbreaker
  4. If She Knew
  5. Trust Me
  6. Over You
  7. Mayday
  8. Wait Forever
  9. Not What You Say
  10. Black Tide