Right, let's get this out of the way. Laurence Fox is the son of James, nephew of Edward, cousin of Emilia and Freddie. He went to Harrow and RADA then starred in The Hole and Gosford Park, but is probably best known to a certain section of the population from his lead role in Lewis, ITV's Werther's-friendly detective drama. Oh, he's married to Billie Piper and is Richard Ayoade's brother-in-law.
Holding Patterns is the opening salvo in his latest assault on the public consciousness, this time as a singer songwriter and a pretty decent calling card it is too. These songs are hewn from a rich tapestry of experience with emotions filtered through a decent helping of self-knowledge - rather than being on an existential quest for meaning it sounds as if he's pretty sure where he's coming from and would like to show the path to the rest of us.
The songs are intensely personal, but tend to look outwards rather than contemplate their singer's navel. His voice is solid, appealingly so, a man's voice - adult and rounded and always under the control of it owner. Likewise, his guitar playing successfully supports the songs and doesn't get in the way.
However, when the sound is filled out to incorporate a full band it's not always so successful - for all the well executed euphoric intentions of recent single Headlong and the restrained setting of Gunfight there are other examples (the overcooked new single Rise Again among them) where perhaps the production is too busy to serve the songs as well as it might.
That said, if you like songs that mean something delivered by a singer that cares about them and you probably have albums by Coldplay, Keane, Willy Mason, Ron Sexsmith and Scott Matthews in your collection, you'll find much to enjoy in Holding Patterns.
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