James Blunt is like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. But given that he has sold over twenty million albums worldwide, there has to be a great number of closeted lovers.

With his sixth and latest studio album, Once Upon A Mind now available, he has delivered what is undoubtedly his most personal album to date. Released on Custard and Atlantic Records UK, it is eons away from his last Electronica effort, The Afterlove, as Blunt has gone back towards the kind of soft ballads that made his 2004 debut, Back To Bedlam, an international success.

Opening with a polished folk pop track, The Truth, he has clearly reproached his roots and has even gone so far as to create a commercialised sound that has seen the single from the album, Gold even get its fair share of radio play, with its chorus that is destined to be sung by an arenas filled with fans.

There are uplifting beats and happy instrumentals in the anthemic Champions and a certain pop swagger on 5 Miles. Collaborating on this album with several producers including Steve Robson, Jimmy Hogarth and TMS, Blunt’s finished album is likeable, tuneful and actually quite pleasant.

The Greatest is a delightful piano track written for his children and future generations whilst Halfway is a simply beautiful and honest country tinged track that will have the listener singing along. But the outstanding track on the album is Monsters with its unbearably poignant lyrics in the form of a letter written from a son to his seriously ill father.

Once Upon A Mind is a peaks and troughs album, up on one track and descending rapidly on the next. But lyrically it is a mature piece of work and like Marmite may just grow on those that have already taken to Twitter to discard it.

Number of tracks: 11

Running time: 36:53 mins

Release on: Atlantic RecordsUK/Custard

Release date: 25th October 2019

Our Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)