Anderson East gets comfortable in his sound on latest album, Encore.

East is not a household name, yet his stock is certainly on the rise. The Alabama native holds a spot on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack through his blues offering ‘What Would It Take’. The 30-year-old also boasts a writing credit on country star Miranda Lambert’s ‘Getaway Driver’.

After testing the musical waters under his real name Mike Anderson, the singer-songwriter connected with producer Dave Cobb, (Chris Stapleton) on major-label debut Delilah.

East’s first major entry saw him take in the blues, soul and a touch of gospel. With Grammy winning Cobb back at the production desk, Anderson
seeks to build on the previously laid foundations.

If you’re going to go down the soul route you need to have strong vocal gifts and Encore proves its artist’s talents in abundance. What’s more, the 11-track project is systematically, and occasionally transparently designed to showcase East’s silky-smooth tones.

Openers ‘King For A Day’ and ‘This Too Shall Last’, are of the slow sentimental type. As mellow guitar and gospel organ plays, Anderson sings of music’s favourite sentimental bedfellow. Yes, it’s all about the joys of love. By the time the album gets to ‘House Is A Building’ things are feeling very warm and cosy.

After ‘If You Keep Leaving Me’ wallows for far too long, mercifully the gears shift to herald a rewarding second half.

‘Girlfriend’ proves a highlight, showcasing the artist’s sense of humour. It’s a cheeky up-tempo number that puts the boyfriend of a wavering lover on notice that our protagonist is clearly the one for this gorgeous girl. The rocking ‘Surrender’ cuts loose with a fun and energised performance that demonstrates its artist’s gritty vocal range.

Elsewhere, the Ed Sheeran co-write ‘All on My Mind’ proves to be a seductively dramatic change up, thanks to the rare prominence of the violin on the track. As the listener hears of the storyteller’s free-spirited girl and his fear of being a mere compromise, the atmosphere is built well and the American’s aching vocals do the rest.

Proceedings close powerfully with the poignant ‘Cabinet Door’. The emotional track chronicles how a family has survived and thrived since the passing of a loved one. Although this is easily one of the record’s strongest offerings, use of angelic like gospel singers tug on the heartstrings far too obviously and over egg an otherwise genuine experience.