Sara Bailey listens to Matt Cardle's latest album.

Album: Porcelain
Matt Cardle
Label: Absolute

Matt Cardle, the 2010 X Factor winner, having switched music labels, returns with his third album Porcelain. This label switch has brought about a new and diverse sound, incorporating rock, pop and soul influences. Cardle’s writing talent is evident on this CD of ballads, which incorporate theme of loves in an array of tempos: from the funk of Not Loving You to the tranquil Not Over You.

Annoyingly there is still a residual X Factor-esque over-produced quality to the songs. Hit My Heart, for example, is accompanied by a chirrup of backing singers in an OTT gospel style. On occasion, he attempts to imitate a Kurt Cobain raw edgy style, vocal cords straining at the task.

The reality is, Cardle has a slight voice, the vulnerability in his vocal performance should be preserved. He is in need of stripped back instrumentals, complementing his soft tenor sound. The confident, tilting towards blasé, musical sound, does not pretend to be intricate or in any way transfixing: simply, enjoyable and fun.

The overall issue of Matt Cardle is he is much like a bar of low-fat chocolate: close to the real deal, but doesn’t quite have that same velvet quality to fully satisfy you, much like his voice — it doesn’t quite have that rich tone to create much impression.

It’s an ambitious album that will perhaps appeal to a wide audience, but ultimately it lacks real bite.