Nathan Sykes

Unfinished Business (Deluxe Edition)

(Global Music Recordings)

When a boyband/girlband decides to go their separate ways it is always interesting to see/hear what each member decides to do.  This is usually split into four categories; 1 – A decision to leave the limelight for good and return to life before the band, 2 – change career path and become the leading cast member in a touring musical, 3 – go on a tour of various reality shows so that television audiences can see me in a jungle or a big house with other celebrities and finally 4- launch a solo career with a new album.

Nathan Sykes opted for option four following his time in British pop group The Wanted and has returned to the music world with debut solo album ‘Unfinished Business’.  The album has been released by Global Music Recordings, a division of a much larger organisation which owns big name radio stations, a live music section and the Global Academy which educates the youth in radio production and other media skills alongside other qualifications. So with the deluxe edition in my hand (it has become commonplace for artists to release deluxe editions around November in time for Christmas even if it is their debut release) let’s begin.

Opener ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait’ features a rich vocal choir arranged by Martin Sjolie that give the track some dimension. However, I couldn’t read any song credits for a choir or backing vocalists which suggests that it is the result of keyboards and recording studio magic. This is a shame but it is still listenable.

The first single from the album, ‘Kiss Me Quick’ became a radio favourite when it was released in summer 2016 and has a real emphasis on the sexy-sounding horns courtesy of Simon Clarke, George Hogg, Tim Sanders and David Liddell. Sykes’s voice is very powerful and is in that perfect vocal range which the world of pop adores. Interestingly, when I was reading the sleeve notes Nathan Sykes thanked several doctors for helping him after he had to undergo surgery on his vocal chords.

‘Money’ sounds too much like a song by girl group Stooshe and when you add the electronic squeaky voice it just seems irritating. ‘Freedom’ has an electric guitar intro that adds a subtle funk vibe alongside Ali Tennant’s backing vocals. Nathan Sykes sounds vocally comfortable by track five though on ‘Twist’. They recorded a live performance of this track in New York with a full band and it does demonstrate how strong the song is lyrically. Guitar comes from Edgar “JV” Etienne.

‘I Can’t Be Mad’ is a bit more stripped down compared to its predecessors with sweeping piano and vocal intertwining beautifully. The song’s lyrics are incredibly sad and show the light and shade of ‘Unfinished Business’ as a body of work. ‘There’s Only One Of You’ is an acoustic offering and one of my favourite songs on this album as it is not soaked in synth but rather pleasant guitar from the song’s co-writer Tim Woodcock. It could become a live favourite. ‘Famous’ has a real Back to the Future romantic dance vibe to it and is perfect for couples to dance to as the night draws to a close. ‘Give It Up’ features G-Eazy and had a total of 11 writers including Sykes as well as samples from ‘Don’t Leave Me’. Adrian Bent ‘s bass guitar has a real groove on this and it is probably a future single as this is a sensible music pairing.

‘More Than You’ll Ever Know’ is essentially a soul number but with a pop production and it would be great as a slow jazz tune. One of the strongest cuts. ‘Over and Over Again’ features twice on this deluxe edition; one as the original with just Sykes and the other a bonus track with Sykes’s ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande. (I must note that they didn’t split after the recording it was before).

The song is beautifully written and Harmony Samuels’s piano is stunning. I prefer the solo version as I believe that it is more impactful coming from one person. That said, I think that Ariana was the right choice for this though as they have a bit of history and every word they sing is genuine and honest. ‘

I’ll Remember You’ sounds like a man who can’t seem to move on as several vocalists clap throughout  and ‘Tears In The Rain’ features a moody drum track that neither adds nor takes away from the song. It’s just there in the background.  ‘Taken’ is another bonus and I would like to suggest a music video starring the actor Liam Neeson in a nightclub looking for someone whilst Nathan performs the song on stage with a full band. Just a thought…

Closer ‘Burn Me Down’ has Gordon Campbell on drums and I have a sneaky suspicion that this may have been intended for The Wanted. A very strong effort from Nathan Sykes on this as he really gives it his all on the chorus. In conclusion, sixteen tracks is good value for money but does seem too long in terms of a record length. The wonderful thing about this album is that not only will everyone have a different song as their favourite but it allows Nathan Sykes to mix it up a perform a different set every night on a tour. I do hope that a live UK tour is in the pipeline for 2017 as it would be great to give these songs a live airing.

Glenn Sargeant



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Both the standard and deluxe editions of Nathan Sykes’s debut solo album ‘Unfinished Business’ are out now on Global Music Recordings.

For more information visit Nathan Sykes official website here: http://www.nathansykesofficial.com/promo

Nathan Sykes