by Griff Stevens
Being one of the five members of One Direction was the start of this young Irishman’s career. He is known for his easygoing charm and mischievous humor. We are speaking of Niall Horan. Horan has released his debut album called, Flicker on Capitol Records. The thirteen songs have the aid of co-writers including: Adele associate Tobias Jesso Jr. and his old One Direction collaborator Jamie Scott. Horan has created an album bursting with catchy melodies. In general, his is songwriting is attractively simple and straightforward and his song lyrics speak of love, or missing a woman that is no longer in his life.
“On the Loose” starts the album with a great pop beat that has just a tinge of Latin flavors. Horan’s voice is clear and articulate. This song will creep up on you (in a good way), the chorus has a way of finding its way in your head throughout the day and it relaxed mood will put a smile on your face. With a steady bass line and tasteful guitar work throughout the song, Horan has a winner with this one. Even though the song is built upon a four-chord structure, it has multiple variations, feels and textures that make it a great listen.
The pop sounds continue with “Slow Hands.” A smooth and funky pop beat frames the song, with sparse instrumentation at times, relying on the bass and drum beat to support Horan’s voice. His vocal style on this track is direct and to the point with no embellishments, and it follows the theme of the song and matches the mood very nicely. A catchy slab of pop that is right in the middle, not too corny, and not too in your face.
Elsewhere, Horan shows his slower and more stripped-down side, with the gentle and folksy, “This Town.” The lyrics stream with reflective nostalgia and the acoustic guitar accompaniment is perfect. The song unfolds organically, with Horan’s vocals building with the instrumentation and following suit. The music is different from One Direction, but Horan’s ability to connect to the emotional side of a song and sell it to the listener is the success of this album.
This is an auspicious and well-crafted album that reflects Horan’s vision as a solo artist, it is clear and full of potential. Flicker gets his post-One-Direction career off to a wonderful start. His music is refreshing, sweet-hearted, and simple (in a refreshing way). He brings out the emotion in each song while giving us a foot-tapping beat to enjoy. Be sure to purchase the deluxe edition, it’s worth the extra cash to get the extra three songs. Well done, lad.
Tracks to sample first: “On The Loose,” “This Town,” “Slow Hands” and “Too Much to Ask.” The song to take a chance on is “Seeing Blind.”