Album reviews: Niall Horan - Flicker
Give the lad his due: it would have been easy for the One Direction heartthrob to trot out a collection of ersatz R&B crowd-pleasers, but on Flicker he keeps faith with the West Coast influences that first drew him into music. On tracks like “On The Loose” and “Since We’re Alone”, the formula of fat, warm bass and drums anchoring light guitars and harmonies comes straight from the Fleetwood Mac playbook (indeed, the latter’s guitar vamp irresistibly recalls “Dreams”). Elsewhere, his grasp of country-rock modes is firm but light, Horan harmonising with himself on “You And Me” like a reedier version of Don and Phil Everly, while lilting folksy strummers such as “Seeing Blind” and “Flicker” glow like late-afternoon sunlight in Laurel Canyon. Lyrically, Horan pushes no envelopes, sticking to earnest love plaints and poignant reminiscences for the most part, and even offering to listen to his girl’s problems in “Fire Away”. Clearly, a chap who knows exactly what women most want from men.