Album Reviews

David Sneddon – Seven Years – Ten Weeks

UK release date: 28 April 2003

The easiest job in the world is to knock plucky reality television talent show contestants. Enter Glaswegian grinner David Sneddon, who basked in glory on the BBC’s Fame Academy, and swiftly went on to score a debut number one smash. Just months later, and the boyish 24-year-old’s debut album Seven Years-Ten Weeks is ripe for the listening.

Unlike previous success stories from the reality hothouse, this hasn’t been whipped up by a gaggle of writers and musicians, then spoon-fed to the performer – this is all Sneddon’s own work. The most prolific songwriter from the Academy has written all but one of this promising 12-track collection. As he says in his sleeve notes: “I’ve been a musician for seven years”.

Sneddon gets considerable musical support on his debut opus. But the words, voice and piano all belong to the Scot, and are exercised with aplomb and considerable strength. It all kicks off imaginatively with Best Of Order and the babbling of an expectant audience, ahead of an up-tempo rock song with a chorus which sees Sneddon muscle in on Robbie Williams‘ hallowed territory.

Sneddon’s chart-topper Stop Living The Lie is one of his weaker efforts, but he’s recorded a meatier, reworked version for the album. The heartfelt, mid-range ballad is Sneddon’s natural terrain- with a clutch of other examples like the Celtic-tinged Without You showing off his silky piano skills and the pleasant upper range of his vocals.

But Sneddon has tried to prove he’s not just a one-song act, and dabbles in the rockier side of music with mixed results. Follow Me is a honky-tonk attempt to dirty up his squeaky-clean image with a growl here and there, while the maudlin, atmospheric Lazy is very nearly spoilt by a so-wrong rock guitar solo. Seven Years’ closing opus appears to be a horrifying ten minutes long, but is the uplifting, soulful Long Time Coming plus an angelic bonus track.

David Sneddon wins credibility by penning his own new material for this opener – a greater achievement than many of his talent show peers. His music is well-grounded, although it’s nothing earth-shatteringly new. He is already a master of the ballad and is keen to explore other musical avenues. The Glasgow lad shows considerable depth and maturity beyond his years, but there is still some way to go and he hasn’t yet produced a signature song to truly set him apart. Sneddon is determined to survive well beyond his Fame Academy launching pad. He shows signs of joining a long tradition of popular singer-songwriters capable of lasting the course.

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