If this record is designed to keep Daniel in songwriting work, then there’s enough...
Jaime Gill 2008-05-30
His most prominent fans are Gary Barlow and Fern Britten and he happily claims credit for songs by Lemar, Delta Goodrem and Simon Webbe (though not the ones you know). Thus, it's safe to say that Tim Daniel probably doesn't lie awake at night tormented by dreams of high art and credibility. Now, after eight years of low-key backroom songwriting, and perhaps provoked into action by the monster success of the not dissimilar James Blunt, Daniel has finally decided to unleash his debut solo album upon us.
That the public will embrace him as eagerly and unexpectedly as they did Blunt is highly unlikely, though Daniel's pleasant C&A man looks and boyish, gentle voice mean it's not impossible. Musically, Putting It To Bed is a country stroll of an album; relaxing, meandering and unlikely to raise anyone's blood pressure. It starts brightly with the rather lovely title track, shot through with sweet falsetto and blessed with a warm hug of a chorus, followed by the breezily catchy single Digging My Heels.
From here the album veers between minor pleasure - the jaunty, jig paced It Ain't Working - and major dullness on tracks like Above Water, which sounds like a Feeling ballad drained of the melody. The sonic blueprint is busking guitar, pretty piano and often cloying strings, while the lyrics can be summed up by Endurance's self-help motto of ''keep hurting and healing, hurting and healing''. The album is rarely less than well crafted, but barely much more than that.
If this record is designed to keep Daniel in songwriting work, then there’s enough charm here to achieve its purpose, notably on the warm, huskily intimate You're Needed or the slick, Stevie Wonder haze of A New Life, both of which could be hits with an injection of charisma and production pizzazz. But if the intention is to launch himself as a star in his own right, Putting It To Bed simply lacks the necessary spark.