Hailing from Australia, Daniel Merriweather first sprang into our ears in 2007, when he was featured on Mark Ronson’s album Version where he covered The Smiths’ Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. He then collaborated with Wiley on his track Cash In My Pocket in 2008 before releasing his debut Love & War on June 1st 2009. It was technically his second studio album, as he recorded an album in 2006 but never released it. Rumour has it, that this unreleased album will be his second and will be released in 2010. Love & War is a perfect debut, and definitely one of my favourite albums of 2009 so far, although I don’t think that many artists will top it. His voice is soulful and this album definitely confirms that he’s more than qualified to be a recording artist.

For Your Money is the first track off the album, and it sets the standard high. With a quiet intro and verse, you think it would be a slow ballad, but the chorus and ending explodes into life with Merriweather showing his range, going up an octive and into his falsetto range.

Impossible is next, and was the third single released from the album. It charted at an unimpressive #64, which I thought was too low for its quality. The chorus is catchy and the song should definitely have reached higher as towards the final chorus, Merriweather unleashes a beast of a high note that is more than impressive.

Change follows and was the first single from the album. Charting at #8 and featured rapper Wale, Change, ironically, had a change in genre to what the album was offering so far. It had a more R&B feel to it, with brass and pianos also featuring, giving it less of an acoustic/soul feel to it. Probably to do with the rapper, but nevertheless, it is a great track.

Chainsaw is the next song and it puts the soul-y feel back into the album. With brass instruments and a faster pace, this song is catchy and really memorable. Merriweather really shines, as he shows the power in his voice, and his vast range.

Cigarettes follows and is a slower song than the previous few. It’s a song about how he wasn’t going to do something, but then did it anyway. It’s also a love song, as he sings “My clothes smell like cigarettes, and they used to smell like you”. Towards the end is my favourite where he plays about with his vocals, again hitting those high notes with ease.

Red is next, and was the second single released. It was received well, hitting #5 on the chart. It’s a beautiful song, with an acoustic guitar, and Merriweather’s touching performance really stands out on the album. It’s one of my favourites, as it will be with most people.

Could You follows, and is a real gem on the album. The chorus is brilliant, and instrumentally it’s fantastic. Merriweather also provides a solid performance and the backing vocals really give it that extra dimension.

Not Giving Up is next, and has a really good vibe about it, it’s more jazz/soul-y and the chorus is one of sheer brilliance, with Merriweather showing his effortless vocal range once more.

Getting Out is a slower song to the previous. It has a rather chilled out vibe to it, with the chorus going up in pitch with Daniel’s vocals. His voice sounds better in the higher octaves, showing different sides to his voice.

Water And A Flame is next, and is THE best song on the album without a doubt. I couldn’t have picked a better woman for him to sing with. His and Adele’s voices mould together like magic, and when they start singing in unison it’s like listening to heaven in a pair of headphones. This song is one of my favourites out of any song in the world, it’s that good. Seriously, even if you don’t like Adele, this is a beautiful duet.

Live By Night has the difficult job of following Water And A Flame, and I accepted that nothing would ever top that. And I was right. But this song isn’t bad at all, it’s a really good song. The change in tempo is cleverly done.

All Of The People has an interesting introduction, as the child-like voices bring you to this song. The backing vocals are nicely brought in, but this song isn’t as good as the previous ones. It’s an okay song, but just not as good as the rest.

Giving Everything Away For Free is next, bringing the tempo of the album back to soft and slow. This song really picks up in the chorus, as his vocals go up to the magic tone where he really shines.

You Don’t Know What Love Is is the final track on Love & War. The song ends the album in style, with the piano and drums melting  in fantastically with Daniel’s voice.

Overall, Love & War is the perfect album for all mainstream listeners. It should also convert some non-mainstreamers to his music, as his voice is warming and soulful. This deservedly reached #2 on the album chart, just missing out on #1 thanks to Paolo Nutini. I would definitely recommend this album to anyone, and would rate it as an easy 9/10.

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