Although Scream is 22-year-old Mark Joseph’s debut album, there’s something very familiar about it. As well there should be – the album was originally issued on the cheap last year on the Luton lad’s own label with Joseph playing all the instruments himself.
His resourcefulness paid off. Two singles sailed in to the top forty with little marketing, money or promotion. Then, snapped up by a major label he was packed off to Los Angeles to re-record the whole album again with producer Marc Tanner (The Calling, Cheap Trick) and string arranger Paul Buckmaster (Jayhawks, Elton John, 10000 Maniacs).
It’s paid off – there’s a lush richness to the multi-layered production that was missing from the original, with Joseph’s own voice shining brighter, with the result being a competent, likeable album packed with easy to listen to songs despite an aching lack of originality.
The album wanes in parts but there’s enough here to spawn a belief that Joseph can yet come of age. Give Me, for example, is a delicious melting pot of 10cc and Roy Orbison while Moody Blues shows the youngster stomping forth with Gallagher-esque bad attitude and snarling.
Lady Lady is a beautiful blend of the laid-back soulfulness of Groove Armada‘s At The River and many a Robbie Williams slow, melodic ballad – falling short of the former, but surpassing the latter at his own game.
Joseph shows his vocal dexterity on Any Evidence with a bullish sound that harks back to the early days of Brit-rock, while retaining a distinctly 21st century veneer of guitar-driven pop.
It’s well worth a listen, although its similarity to so much that has gone before will render it easily forgettable in future months and years. If nothing else though, Joseph should shine bright as an audacious lesson to the music industry and the powers of DIY.