RJ Thompson has taken the long road to reach his sophomore studio album. Having toured with Midge Ure, Jools Holland, The Proclaimers and Sandi Thom, he started recording a debut album way back in 2004, but it is retrospectively perceived by the 35 year old family man from Bishop Auckland to have been more of a demo collection. Since then he has released a series of singles and EPs, which saw him fully grow his sound before the release of the impressive retro vibes of his 2017 debut album Echo Chamber. Three years on and he delivers Lifeline.
While Echo Chamber shone due to it's nostalgic sound, Lifeline strikes gold due to its personal connection through the poignant storytelling nature of the lyrical content. While there is no denying that RJ's pop leanings have come to the fore throughout the album, it is actually in having fully worn his heart of his sleeve that sells the truly honest record.
However, lyrics alone are not enough to make an album strong. And this is a strong album. RJ's rich vocal and ability to pen a killer radio hook. While the album's single Kids is without any doubt the crowning glory of Lifeline, it is closely rivaled by the sensational Panic Stations and brilliant Gold Ring.
With even the interlude of Ditto offering further insight into RJ's mind and surroundings, this is an album that is all encompassing.
The fact it also boasts the world's first ever VR front cover only serves to heighten the need for a physical copy in your collection, even if the music speaks far louder than the need for a PR gimmick.