Wherever he goes, whatever he does, Olly Murs will always be the man who finished second to Joe McElderry in X Factor 2009. However, whoever wins the short-term reality TV battle is not guaranteed to win the pop war.
And so, as McElderry drifts gently off into oblivion like a disconsolate Furby, Essex boy Murs sold-out his arena tour of 2012. His similarly sized 2013 trek will bear identical fruit.
Albums wise, he’s now on number three and he’s progressing more speedily than even his hastily convened fanbase might have predicted. How many decisions he makes for himself remains an unknown, as does how hard he works for his songwriting credits (11 from 12 songs here), but it’s all coming together.
For all its battalions of writers and producers, Right Place Right Time is a surprisingly coherent affair. Taking its cue from latter-day Take That and underpinned by military drumming, Army of Two is a pop thumper of the highest order. With a scarf-waving chorus that peak-period Bon Jovi would have sold their souls to have written, Loud & Clear runs it close in the kitchen sink productions stakes.
Flo Rida offers a brief but engaging cameo on Troublemaker, and there’s a super-sweet innocence to the impossibly happy (and chaste) first date tale “with the girl I might love” that is What a Buzz.
Elsewhere, Head to Toe is slightly more adult in content, and Murs offers a certain amount of gravitas on the dramatic, tubular-bells-assisted Dear Darlin’.
There is filler, and Hey You Beautiful could be an anthem for wolf-whistling builders the world over. But Murs hurls himself into these songs with a sure-footed touch that belies his reality show background.
Right now, the knowingly titled, impossibly bouncy and genuinely likeable Right Place Right Time is the best Olly Murs can do – but, if he keeps growing, there may be better to come.
With everything going his way, this is probably exactly how he thought being a pop star would turn out. Only the truly flint-hearted could not wish him well.
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This album is reviewed on Jo Whiley’s Radio 2 show on 3 December 2012