“Take my hand…”
There’s always something a little tricky when performers best known for musical theatre release an album of original material as a natural gift for song-writing clearly doesn’t automatically follow being able to sing the songs of others well. Fortunately, in the case of Will Barratt, an actor who has performed in such huge shows as Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera and Jersey Boys, that musical ability is clear and present in his album Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
15 years in the making, Barratt has been writing since starting music college and this collection of 14 self-penned songs both stretches back to that time as well as representing the singer he has become. And it is a hugely accomplished affair, produced by Joe Davison and Auburn Jam Records it has the kind of contemporary sheen that means you really could imagine it appearing in the Top 40 but equally importantly, the song-writing has the confidence and brio to pull it off.
The album’s highlight is undoubtedly the gypsy-ish tango-inspired ‘Tatiana’, a supremely seductive duet with Rebecca Trehearn which sizzles with passion and longing and has a wonderfully natural feel to its flowing passages. Interesting slants appear in many of the songs – the interpolations of ‘Ave Maria’ in ‘Demon’ contrast well with its soaring chorus, the harmonies that support ‘Winter Lullaby’ shimmer with loveliness, the chirpiness of opener ‘Tomorrow’s Song’ which feels like it would be a perfect fit for today’s Take That.
Trehearn returns with a solo song, the impassioned ‘Surrender’; Nadim Naaman co-writes and duets on the stirring ‘That’s How It Goes’; and Barratt keeps us guessing right until the end as the unexpectedly funky ‘Give Me Some Time’ fades into the graceful arpeggios of the closing ‘Take My Hand’. An altogether quite promising album that suggests a bright future indeed.
Confessions of a Justified Sinner will be released on Monday 10th August, but you can pre-order the album with bonus Kickstarter pledges and also book tickets for the launch gig at The Hippodrome on Sunday 9th August with guest turns from Rebecca Trehearn, Nadim Naaman, Ryan Molloy and Michael Conway at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1028518331/confessions-of-a-justified-sinner-solo-album