Kicking off a new contract with Island, Will Young also seizes the opportunity of a new label to retreat from the electro stylings of 2011's Echoes on 2015's 85% Proof. He doesn't entirely leave synthesizers behind: the album's opener, "Brave Man," is as sleek and glassy as the best Ryan Tedder and he revisits urban soundscapes on "Like a River. " Usually, though, Young spends much of 85% Proof alternating between effervescent neo-Motown bounce -- a sound best heard on the single "Love Revolution" -- and stately soulful marches reminiscent of Adele and Sam Smith.
Reviews of Will Young‘s albums these days fall into two distinct camps; those who must mention that he first became famous on some TV talent contest long forgotten and ignore the passing of time since, and others who accept that, as he ventures into his second major label deal, he’s more than just a pretty – and these days hirsute – face; a career that’s lasted well over a decade in pop world, that most fickle of places, surely has something of note about it. Young isn’t so young these days, but on the evidence of 85% Proof, his sixth album, he’s maturing like the finest bottle of scotch. By down the years changing the bare minimum of his formula for success – universally vague lyrical sentiment over seemingly new yet always somehow familiar soul-tinged pop music – and evolving only at a pace his audience can keep up with, he is making his career last.