There’s no reason to waste any time, so let’s get straight to the point. Robert Vincent’s third album ‘In This Town You’re Owned’ is a corker (for those not familiar with this UK term, that’s a really good thing!) and from the moment the first notes of the opening track ‘This Town’ descend upon your eardrums, to the fade-out on the final track ‘Cuckoo’, the quality of the songwriting, the performance and the production never drops beneath a level that can only be described as outstanding.
Vincent released his debut album ‘Life in Easy Steps’ in 2013, and since then he has slowly built up his reputation, including receiving the inaugural Emerging Artist Award from Bob Harris in 2016 (who described Vincent as “absolutely magnetic”), A subsequent appearance on BBC4’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test: For One Night Only’. marked a further breakthrough in his burgeoning career but with the release of ‘In This Town You’re Owned’ he’s poised to take things to greater heights.
Vincent shrewdly recruited Ethan Johns to handle production duties and with the six-piece band laying down the tracks live to 16 track tape, with minimal overdubs, the result is an immediacy and almost a spontaneity to the album that just grabs you and never seems to release you from its grip. ‘In This Town You’re Owned’ poses questions on two different levels. On one hand it deals with some of the large issues facing the world today and on the other, it concentrates on the everyday emotions encountered by every one of us. For example, on ‘Kids Don’t Dig God Anymore’ he questions whether faith has largely disappeared, not in the full religious sense but in the broader spiritual sense. Vincent isn’t forcing you to agree with his point of view but he is asking the question and you can come to your own conclusions.
Other album highlights include the opening track ‘This Town’, the latest single ‘Conundrum’ which highlights where, in a world where we endlessly take, something ultimately has to give, but for this reviewer at least, the highlight is arguably the 9-minute epic ‘The End of The War’. Long tracks like these can often be dull and self-indulgent. That’s not the case here as the music effortlessly glides along and it (almost) feels no longer than any of the more standard-length tracks.
‘In This Town You’re Owned’ is a terrific album and it deserves to be a huge success and hopefully, Vincent’s reputation and profile will only continue to increase on the back of this effort. If he maintains this standard in his future work, then we’ll be hearing a lot more from this hugely talented Liverpudlian.