Label: High Focus Records
Released: 23rd April 2021
Firmly responsible for the unprecedented amount of men with beards and hats in the pop charts over the last few years (let’s not hold that against him), Rag’n’Bone Man’s meteoric rise with ‘Human’ in 2017 saw him take over the world before soon being followed by the sense that he had fallen off the face of it. With ‘Life By Misadventure’ marking his return then, it seems like the time has been well-spent in avoiding a rushed copycat of a follow-up.
The vibe here is markedly different second time around, with a lot of the bombast of his debut stripped back to be replaced by a more contemplative and mature tone – recorded in Nashville, there is a simplicity to many of the early tracks that recall that time Bob Iver popped to the woods for a bit. There’s a sheen of melancholia about much of the record, a sense of nostalgia mixed with a man facing up to the fact he’s grown older. The want to escape, both metaphorically and literally, runs through moments like ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ while the gentle heartbreak of ‘Fall In Love Again’ shows a side of someone that’s been burnt by some of life’s fires.
A track or two too heavy, ‘Life By Misadventure’ is at its best when it is shifting through the gears on a middle run of tracks that climax with the show-stopping ‘All You Ever Wanted’, a barnstormer of a song if ever there was one and a moment that the album desperately needs as much as wants. There’s a lot to like here, and a lot to admire, too, at times being undoubtedly A Serious Album that will sell a gazillion copies and see him cruise to headlining your Latitudes and the like. And if that feels like a mission accomplished for him, well, you can’t blame him. Because he’s only human after all.