Cumbria Times
A Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
9:43 PM 28th November 2020

Gary Barlow - Music Played By Humans (Polydor)

There are probably only a handful of artists who have such a loyal fanbase that whatever they record the fans will follow them and stay loyal. Gary Barlow is one of those artists: his mainly female fans have grown up with him via Take That.

For many other artists doing what is essentially a swing and jazz album it would be commercial suicide and the end of a career. With Barlow this album feels the right move in his side line solo career.

In the past his solo albums seem to have received tepid response outside his usual fans, but actually I get the feeling that many others would like this compelling album if they cast aside any prejudices.

Barlow greets the musicians as the album starts wishing them “Good luck, see you on the other side” as the first track Who’s Driving This Thing is a breezy affair that could be a Barry Manilow in his jazzier moments.

Incredible harks back to the Rat Pack period, but the song is so joyful and uplifting just like the feeling when you pull back the curtains and discover it’s a sunny day outside. He could have done an album of jazz standards but all the songs are originals.

Elita has already been released as a single, Michael Buble and Columbian star Sebastian Yatra, but the song feels rather forgetful after hearing all the other tracks on the album.

There are ballads too, such as This Is My Time which sounds like it has come from a West End Musical. If you are after a track that could be a Basia song or Matt Bianco then Eleven might do the trick, though I can hear a bit of Mika in there.

Supernatural let’s the big band rip on a track where you can hear the joy he had when recording these tracks. There’s even James Corbin on The Kind of Friend I Need, it makes you think that he could have done the song with Robbie Williams, or maybe not!

When he tours this album it will be a real pleasure and for perhaps just once the Take That songs can take a back seat.

I rate the album 4 out of 5.