Gavin James: Only Ticket Home review – Finely-tuned, stadium-ready hits
Only Ticket Home
Pop music thrives on anguish. Throughout Only Ticket Home, the sophomore album from Gavin James, pain abounds. On Bitter Pill’s successor, the Dubliner, inspired by heartbreak, shifts between up-tempo melodies and lovelorn acoustic instrumentation.
The narrative details a relationship in decline: “I need you far more than I ever want you,” James sings wistfully on Hard to Do. The universality of the themes is compromised, however, by this kind of cliched language.
Elsewhere, Easy manages to lighten the mood of the record with humorous metaphors: “You felt like a coffee cup when you came and woke me up.” To listeners, these fleeting moments are greatly appreciated among the unwavering despair.
Questionable lyrical integrity aside, plenty of the arrangements are bolstered with bouts of hand clapping, guitar riffs and energetic percussion. The presence of these elements, namely on Start Again and Heart on Fire, effectively culminate in finely-tuned radio-friendly hits. Ones that will be well received by large arena crowds, the natural setting for these songs.
While Only Ticket Home is not the most inspired album released this year, it asserts Gavin James’s strength in producing marketable pop songs.