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.By Alexi Duggins
Time Out Abu Dhabi,
Most viewed galleries
- Samba party in Abu Dhabi
- Ladies’ night at Stills pics
- Mexican Fiesta at Sundowner
- Lil' Kim at O1NE Yas Island
- First Class party at Ornina
Our favourite features
Best restaurants in Abu Dhabi revealed The winners of the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards are...
15 sensational Abu Dhabi hotel suites Dhs130,000 a night sure does buy a lot of luxury these days
50 best dishes in Abu Dhabi The finest foods we've eaten in Abu Dhabi in 2013
Ten global delicacies to try in Abu Dhabi Ten flavours from across the globe (and where you can eat them in Abu Dh...
12 top things to do with visitors in Abu Dhabi Entertain even the most demanding tourist with our expert guide
Christmas dinners in Abu Dhabi Turkey and all the trimmings at top Abu Dhabi restaurants
50 best moments at the Abu Dhabi F1 2013 All the highlights from the track to the clubs, and the gigs to the pits
8 to try: Morning pick-me-ups Ditch the coffee and kick-start your day with these energising foods and...
Eight hot new restaurants in Abu Dhabi Top eateries cutting their culinary teeth in the capital
The 13 quirkiest shops in the capital Our favourite alternative Abu Dhabi spots to browse and buy
Top six massages in Abu Dhabi Soothe your aches with our pick of massages and body treatments
15 wackeist things to do in Abu Dhabi From surfing in the desert to shopping at a gold vending machine