I love Lawson. I didn’t think I would, but then I did. It felt like the age of the boyband had ended in the mid-00s as pop music went into hibernation, but it’s a recipe that will always work if the material is good enough. Even if it’s not good enough provided the guys are hot enough (oh hi, 1D).
Lawson feel to me like a bit of a throwback, like the early 00s days of BBMak. Of course that’s not a massively successful example, apart from a US hit. But there appears to be a gap in the market for a guitar-toting band of handsome modern-looking men, and Lawson are here to fill it. So far they’re doing well with three top 10 hits and a top 5 album, and I was pleased to find out that “Chapman Square” was a pretty solid album.
10 Standing in the dark – God I love this song (as you can tell from this). I first heard it on the radio last year and thought the chorus was totally dumb, and I’m not entirely sure what changed, but this is the perfect type of song for Lawson. I can’t get enough of that falsetto and melodrama. The video ticked a few boyband cliche boxes, but looked pretty swish. Is the song really about a pole dancer though? DAR-uk, DAR-uk OHHH
08 Gone – I love the lead guy’s voice, it’s like a manlier version of Darren Hayes. There are shades of Savage Garden dotted around the album I think, maybe not this song though. This doesn’t quite have the hooks of “Standing in the dark” but I think the lead vocals (I looked it up, he’s called Andy) really carry this. I love the higher-register stuff near the end, “now you’re gooooooonnnneee”. OMG *swoon*.
10 Taking over me – Now this is the shit right here (I’ve never been whiter…), this is the song I first heard from Lawson, and it’s just a great summer song. This definitely gives me Savage Garden vibes, it’s the vocals this time. That chorus hook is just marvellous, “love… love… love is taking over me”. Amazing, why wasn’t this a No.1?
07 Everywhere you go – Not quite to my tastes, it’s a bit too much like The Script, never really clicked with them. The chorus is nice, especially the harmonies, but it’s not quite doing it for me. It’s perfectly listenable, just a comedown after the two big singles.
08 Waterfall – I won’t bother describing the general sound, I think the guys have pretty much established this emotional guitar-pop is the direction, and why not? Don’t really get into this until the chorus. It’s a nice title for a song, I wonder if they thought of that first and tried to fit it into the song afterwards? Vocals are gorgeous when they get going, me and the falsetto… it’s a fixation. It hurts my throat when I do it in the car though.
08 When she was mine – I think this is the debut single, I’ve been a bit out of touch with the charts lately. I think I was a bit quick to dismiss this at the time, and while it’s not the strongest of the singles from this album, it’s still very nice. It’s a bit more downbeat, but that’s a catchy chorus.
09 Make it happen – I just love listening to his vocals now, and that makes this track a bit of a standout. This song has a little more of a build to it, a rockier slant to the album anyway. His voice just sounds so expressive, really love it.
10 Learn to love again – Wonder if this is going to be the last single? Album sales to this point sort of ruined the chart run of this one, which is a real shame because this is another amazing single. That rhythm in the chorus is brilliant, there’s an amazing gay dance remix of this song just itching to get out I think. Can you imagine a synthy version of that middle-eight? Mercy!
08 Stolen – Goodness me, not sure how we can top that last one. A bit more Scripty now (pardon my fixation for comparing every song to another band). It pootles along nicely, the chorus is a rather nice two-tier affair, his vocals really are lovely aren’t they? So sensitive, and tall … *dies*. But anyway yes *ahem*, well done.
07 You’ll never know – Nice start, I like his lower register too. I feel a bit bad for being a little nonplussed by some of the verses on this album, but that’s more down to my loveless existence. I feel like that android off Star Trek who never understands human feelings. Still, my circuits can still appreciate a hot chorus. You don’t even really know how climactic it gets until you drop off the other end for another verse.
07 You didn’t tell me – I love that piano intro, beautiful and delicate after the fairly consistent guitar sound. The rhythm is really nice too, a fine midtempo heartbreak song. A bit repetitive but that last chorus is really gorgeous.
07 The girl I knew – Those opening guitar chords are compelling me to whisper breathily “Let me be your hero…”. I think my main problem with some of this album is that a lot of the content is clearly quite personal, and as a loveless drone I can’t quite project my own feelings and experiences onto it. It’s a sweet song of course, but it lacks the drive that the uptempos have that I can at least enjoy on a superficial level. That’s my own problem really, I could never write anything like this!
08 Red Sky – OK I’m only doing the main album as I don’t have the deluxe tracks, apart from this one I got as a free download off something last year. I really like it though, it’s a shame it didn’t make it onto the main album. That chorus has a catchy melodrama to it, where “Waterfall” sounded like they had the title and worked backwards, this one has a great and memorable title that fits with the song. Hang on, is the red sky supposed to be a good thing? I got a bit lost there, maybe Lawson are commies or something. Anyway, jolly good.
So that’s that! With early 00’s guitar boybands in mind, I worried that the album might follow suit, have some great singles but little else. Fortunately it’s a breeze to listen to, with several great moments. Its sleek 45minute runtime is certainly manageable, it’s been a surprise and a pleasure to listen to.
Keepers for the iPod: Standing in the dark, Gone, Taking over me, Waterfall, When she was mine, Make it happen, Learn to love again, Red sky