ALBUM REVIEW: Juan Zelada “High Ceilings And Collarbones”

Madrid born Juan Zelada loves London. Having signed to Decca at the turn of the year, the singer/songwriter who is being compared to everyone from James Blunt to Ben Folds, has compiled a debut LP which pays tribute to his adopted home. This is no criticism,  rather more of an observation given that at times his relaxed soothing approach is far removed from the stereotypical image of London’s hustle and bustle. However it is this striking dimension that adds an interesting depth to Zelada’s “High Ceilings And Collarbones” leaves the listener wishing for an introduction to Zelada’s London.

Thankfully the record contains many intimations of where the average tourist, or even local, might be missing the mark. “Breakfast In Spitalfields” offered perhaps the most pointed reference to Zelada’s London experience.  While he paints a picture of a manic morning, it is clear he is able to sit back and observe. His ability to remove himself from his surroundings, to be able to simply enjoy the moment and not get lost in the haze.

Essentially Zelada’s sound emulates his outlook, inviting his listener to shut down from dominance of life’s constant rush and simply enjoy the moment that they are living in. It would be too easy to compare Zelada with Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter, given that the similarities only carry over to ideology as opposed to musical styling. While his material has something of latter James Blunt meeting Ed Sheeran, Zelada’s summer oozings are more akin to the breezy approach of Room Eleven and Caro Emerald delivered with the distinction of Paolo Nutini.

Though there are times “High Ceilings And Collarbones” breezes into the background, it is on the whole an engaging and entertaining listen. Zelada’s debut may not provide him with a perfect score, but we challenge you to resist dancing around the kitchen to “What Do I Know” or shoulder shaking to album standout “The Blues Remain”.

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

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