After a dark period of mental health stalked most of his 2018 and 19, Odell wrote his way through it, eventually letting down his guard and pouring his feelings into new music that will form his fourth album, 'monsters', due to be released June 25th. It feels like both a daring creative rebirth and a solidifying of Odell's strengths.
Odell has been working as a musician in the public eye since he was 21 when self-penned debut album ‘Long Way Down’ earned him a number 1 album, a top 10 single (the epic Another Love) and a Brit. Now, 30, it's clear to Odell that the whirlwind around his debut kickstarted a work ethic that eventually became an obsession It reached an apex in September 2019 when Odell, fresh off touring ‘Jubilee Road’, went straight to LA to start writing the next album. “Then this chronic anxiety that I'd had for a couple of years just got worse” Odell woke up one morning “and I couldn't do anymore music”. He knew something had to change. In the end he flew back home, went straight to his parent's house and slowly got better.
Slowly but surely, Odell alchemised that experience into a new album. He also realised his broader lyrical horizons needed to be matched by a musical expansion, with a lot of the songs on the album – created alongside songwriter Laurie Blundell and producer Miles James – leaning into a more electronic, bedroom pop sound that Odell has steadily become obsessed with over the last few years. This new found love of DIY electronic pop chimed with the pandemic's arrival and songs were crafted in a more threadbare way around instruments he had at hand, like Moog synths. It was a move underpinned by both necessity and a desire to explore. So eerie synths and head-rattling beats augment the sound. And while his new music is at times heavy, there's a lightness of touch that means Odell is able to pull off pop's greatest trick; hiding sadness in the melodies. In this strangest of times this new music represents the start of chapter two in Odell's ongoing musical journey.