“It’s like a rollercoaster”
Oliver Tompsett is currently rolling his dice 8 times a week in Guys and Dolls but across his career, he’s also stretched his singer-songwriter muscle, releasing a self-produced album called Sentimental Heart back in 2007. Containing 12 songs written by him, including a duet with Ashleigh Gray, it’s an impressively diverse album which incorporates a wide range of influences along its central pop-rock axis.
Opening with the relaxed funk of the title track then quickly moving to the upbeat vibe of ‘Femme Fatale’ establishes the general mood of uplifting fun – it’s impossible not to bop your head along to the infectious chorus of ‘Come On Back’ and the brassy musicality of ‘Rollercoaster’ feels like it could easily fit in with any of the songs in The Commitments.
He’s really quite affecting in the quieter moments too - the gently strummed ‘Fell In Love’ is just lovely, ‘Love You All Over Again’ is just a puff of dry ice away from being an epic power ballad but works beautifully with the restraint exercised here. And that duet with Gray, ‘Count On Me’, does the trick perfectly, their vocals intertwining intricately with skill.
If there’s any complaint, one could say that you don’t always get the strongest sense of musical identity from Tompsett’s songwriting, a consequence of the variety here and the lack of follow-up album, but it’s a small bugbear for what is otherwise an enjoyable listen.