Due to the genres of music that this blog may suggest I like, it’s not often that I get asked to review a pop record but that’s exactly what Doug Panton’s is. Truth is, you can’t beat a bit of easy-listening pop every once in a while and as a fan of Ed Sheeran and Sam Kelly, cool talented males with acoustic guitars have always intrigued me.
In fact, like Ed Sheeran (who wrote the best One Direction song ever -Little Things), Essex boy Doug has been writing for other artists too including the aforementioned boyband. Having first performed as a duo with his brother Phil, this EP is a collection of his first solo material and in all honesty, it’s quite beautiful.
It begins with Young and an Eastern-inspired panpipe style intro. The backing electronica has a definite folk influence and Doug’s voice has that awesome, addictive, pure tone that Ed Sheeran has. Certainly not an Ed impersonator, it’s unmistakeably Doug who sings this pretty pop ballad with Bastille-esque vocal chants at the back. Doug’s skill as a pianist is shown for the first time in the instrumental and you’re left with a great first impression.
A heart-melting Scared Of Losing You comes next, where Doug pours his heart out to his muse. It has so much melancholy and a catchy rhythm, making it perfect for a hit single. Again, the Sheeran comparisons are inevitable to my ears, although Doug has more of a folksy thing going on. Being a female, this track really tugs on my heartstrings and after a few listens, I know this will become a firm favourite of mine.
In the middle is All Or Nothing, which is based on his piano talent. The piano bashes out a few impressive tricks and you have to remind yourself it’s a piano you’re listening to, not an electronic machine. Again, Doug’s voice is a beautiful, crystal clear sound and this is something that takes on a more poppy style in the second half of the EP. Deep drum beats at the back add to the suspense of the track and keep it from being twee and squeaky clean.
Perhaps the odd one out on the record is Eyes Open. The backing reminds me of the music in the background of a Spotify advert and there is slightly more going on than on the other songs with the inclusion of a deep bass. It is a classic modern pop track which sees Doug’s voice take on a bit of an American twang that isn’t really seen anywhere else on the EP. The story centres around a lying lover and as a result, it has a lot more angst and oomph than the other tracks.
Ending on Agree To Disagree was a great shout, as it’s so damn catchy. Chilled out chimes and an acoustic guitar build into a melodic pop number that becomes a little bit American boyband. It’s this similarity that makes me think it’s a commercial hit again and could tie nicely into the gentle, swaying summer songs that the charts are currently seeing.
One thing I love about Doug Panton’s EP is that it is very different to the kind of music I normally get asked to review. It was so refreshing for me to casually listen to a laid-back, no nonsense pop record and I really think he’s ready to make some noise on the mainstream circuit. Yes, the comparisons to successful talented artists are there but he’s not copying anyone, which gives him his own niche to crack.