Former 1D heartthrob Zayn Malik has been busy since 2016’s Mind Of Mine: his second solo release, Icarus Falls, has a mammoth 27 songs squeezed into 88 minutes.
After the opener Let Me hints at more optimistic ground than the last album, the album steers back to more familiar ground. Tracks like Natural, Imprint, Tonight and Flight of the Stars all channel the dark, R’n’B stylings of his debut.
Stand Still shows the artist coming into his own, with more inventive instrumentals, and his overwrought vocals adding to the track’s immersive nature.
There are dancey moments, too, though, with the reggaeton-punctuated Talk To Me, and album highlight Back To Life, which blends a punchy strut beat with funk.
Otherwise, this album is pretty one-dimensional, with the same repetitive icy-slow groove we’ve heard before. There You Are could be a 1D anthem, and Timbaland has his fingerprints all over If I Got You; but otherwise, it’s all minimal, brooding electro-soul.
There are certainly decent moments, but Icarus Falls is quantity over quality. If he’d focused on polishing a shorter track list, Malik would be onto a winner.