Jamie Cullum

The Pursuit

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AllMusic Review by

Jamie Cullum tipped too heavily toward coffeehouse electronica on his fourth album, Catching Tales, obscuring his charms as both a jazzy pianist and a soft rock crooner, so he wisely scales back to his strengths on The Pursuit. Despite a brassy opening cover of Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” The Pursuit is hardly a retreat to Harry Connick, Jr. territory. Cullum anchors himself within melodic soft rock, providing a base for incorporating both his jazz and persistent electronica infatuations. Since The Pursuit is produced as a pop album, those electronica flourishes wind up seeming seamless, whereas the jazz runs feel something like affectations no matter how crisply they’re delivered. But all this only underscores what Cullum does best: unabashedly mainstream adult pop, whether it’s the insistent rush of “Mixtape” or the wonderful ‘70s throwback “I’m All Over It.” Much of The Pursuit mines this fertilely mellow vein, producing a bunch of understatedly melodic music whose consistency only suggests that Cullum should stop dabbling with detours and just accept his strength as a soft rock singer/songwriter.

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