“I know who you are and I know why you’re here”
On the face of it, Tim Prottey-Jones’ debut album More With Every Line ought to have been a no-questions-asked slam-dunk of a success with me, following on from other new musical theatre writers with star-studded line-ups on their albums – Michael Bruce and Lance Horne springing immediately to mind. Yet something about it didn’t quite work for me and after repeated listens, it still hasn’t emerged as an album that I am particularly fond of.
Prottey-Jones is a young composer, a drummer and guitarist as well as a singer, and this album is made up of songs taken from two musicals that are currently in development with his co-librettist and lyricist Robert Gould – After the Turn and Once Bitten. And it is these two points between them that I think are shaping my opinion. The music is largely pop/rock which really just isn’t my thing at all and as these are shows in development, this is music which hasn’t necessarily been much exposed to the rigours of external ears.
The main weakness for me with More With Every Line as a album is the lack of diversity on here. There really doesn’t feel like there is much variety of tone and outside of the context of the (unknown) shows, little sense of emotion breaks through the rather bland MOR feel. Consequently, the songs didn’t impart a story-telling gift to me. There’s a lot of pretty writing on here especially on the few ballads: Jessie Buckley’s ‘I Will Be There’ and Colleen Ballinger’s ‘I Know Who You Are’ being my favourites, but it is rarely has an urgent feel or the pulsing incandescence that makes me impatient to see these shows.
The handful of duets feel like wasted opportunities after the interesting opener ‘Bite Your Lip’: there is little intricacy inweaving voices together and playing with harmonies, indeed Victoria Hamilton Barritt is utilised more as a backing vocalist for Noel Sullivan on ‘Time’. In the end, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by this as an album. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by other releases which were more suited to my tastes, and I know that other friends have been quite taken by this CD, but I’d want to see Prottey-Jones stretch his writing muscle to cover a wider range before I got excited about seeing one of his shows.
If you can only download one song, make it… Jessie Buckley’s ‘I Will Be There’