Grimy urban underground meets weepy acoustica Discuss this article
Twenty-year-old Suffolk performer Sheeran might have been inspired to pick up the guitar by Damien Rice-ish songcraft, but it was teaming that with a love of the urban underground that led to his half-rapped, loop pedal-based reading of ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ becoming a sensation on grime website SB.TV.
On this debut album, the tracks where he combines those influences show Sheeran at his best. The rapid fire staccato speech of ‘U.N.I.’ has flows to put many MCs to shame, ‘Grade 8’ is all ‘Next Episode’-era Dre-ish piano stabs and thumping beatboxing, and occasionally he offers up genuinely brilliant rhymes.
Elsewhere, Sheeran shows a flair for spartan melody, but far too much is the kind of hyper-emotive, breathily sung, weepy acoustica that screams for a black-and-white video of a weeping woman staring through a rain-streaked window. Pity, as this is a furrow over-ploughed by the world’s Jameses (Morrison, Blunt, etc). Still, more of the urban-influenced tracks and he could be an interesting voice.
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
Most viewed events
Our favourite features
Blow-out pools to try in Abu Dhabi Enjoy an indulgent weekend by the pool here
Pictures: Abu Dhabi from the air Jaw-dropping snaps of the city shot from the skies
12 top things to do with visitors in Abu Dhabi Entertain even the most demanding tourist with our expert guide
47 dishes from around the world to try Take a culinary tour of the capital with our international dining guide
Abu Dhabi's best burgers The top 15 burgers in the capital revealed