Teddy Thompson - A Piece Of What You Need

The most middle-aged record made by someone under 40 you're likely to hear and a strong case against music industry nepotism.

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Released 25 Aug 2008 | Verve | By Andrew Grillo | Rating: 2
Teddy Thompson - A Piece Of What You Need

Teddy 'Son of Richard and Linda' Thompson "treats" us to 'A Piece Of What You Need', perhaps the most middle-aged record made by someone under 40 you're likely to hear and certainly a very strong case against music industry nepotism, on this evidence anyway.

There is undoubtedly accomplished musicianship and song-writing craft on the record, but the session players add to the pervading self-satisfaction evident throughout. Thompson for the most part honks along like a countrified Paul Young (not good) as he spins hard-to-believe tales of bad behaviour atop the blandest most middle of the road music this side of the Dermot O'Leary show.

There are signs of hope - 'What's This?' managing to channel latter period XTC, but soon even this irks as Thompson asks "is it you? is it me? Is it us? Is it we?" for what seems like the fiftieth time (answer: it's you Teddy) before the track descends into a boogie-woogie rock out that is the musical equivalent of a wink.

'In My Arms' is passable country but is again derailed by the queasy over-production that drapes itself over the whole of 'A Piece Of What You Need'. It seems against this backdrop of Radio 2 blandness that even Thompson finds it hard to get excited about the songs, never managing to imbue his vocals with anything approaching sincerity of passion.

It may seem that reviewer is being unduly harsh but it just seems a shame that Thompson, who obviously has talent, is wasting it on such horrors as 'Jonathon's Book' (essentially a poor man's 'Paperback Writer') or 'Can't Sing Straight', in which Thompson tries to assure us of his bad-boy credentials in what is the surely the tamest drinking song put to disc; not even the hoe-down guitar riff and barking organ can save him here. If he goes on like this then Thompson will end up as a perennial 'son of...' and eek out his living as one of the guests on 'Later...' that everyone fast-forwards through.