Review by Graham Finney

In the five years it has been since we last heard from former X-Factor winner Matt Cardle, it would seem that life hasn’t treated the talent show winner too kindly. Stepping out of the limelight to fight his addictions, Cardle is making his return in 2018 with a new album and, judging by the title of the album, Time To Be Alive, a new-found love for life.

Now the first thing you notice as “Higher Power”, the opening track on Time To Be Alive, introduces you to Matt Cardle 2018, is how much his sound has shifted away from the gentle, guitar-based style of his previous releases. I suppose, with his “rebirth”, it should come as no surprise that 2018 sees Cardle exploring new musical waters. However, the problem with Time To Be Alive is that, given the wealth of lyrical inspiration that his past troubles would surely provide him with, it seems that a lot of Time To Be Alive seems to lack any real sort of bite. Demonstrating a more electro-pop inspired sound, there is the occasional moment like Blind Faith when it seems like someone has stoked Cardle’s fires but, for the most part, Time To Be Alive doesn’t really feel, for want of a better word, alive.

Maybe the shift in sound to a more electronic-based sound has taken away the organic feel of the songs because, given Cardle’s battles with drug and alcohol addiction, you’d expect his return to be a real emotional rollercoaster of an album. The frustrating thing is that, having seen Matt deliver an absolutely spine-tingling rendition of “The Power Of Love” last Summer, the emotion is obviously there. Sadly, when it comes to his long-awaited return, this much deserved celebration feels a little flat.

Rating: 6.5/10

Time To Be Alive Track Listing:

1. Higher Power
2. I’m Not Letting Go Yet
3. Desire
4. Time To Be Alive
5. Crazy Love
6. Halleluja
7. Hole In The Boat
8. Nobody
9. Blind Faith
10. High as the Night
11. Human Nature
12. Ten Ten
13. Don’t Be So Shy
14. She

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