Album Review: SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO by Peyton

Promo Photo of Christopher Peyton to promote SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO

American singer-songwriter Peyton steps off the dance floor into a new musical genre with his new album SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO

Just over a year after his controversial exit from the X FACTOR, Christopher Peyton finally releases his brand new studio album SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO.

Best known for his work in the dance music industry, Peyton is an American singer-songwriter. He first shot to fame in 2003 when his hit A HIGHER PLACE stormed the dance charts worldwide, establishing him as “the undisputed voice of soulful house”. Peyton went on to work with some of the biggest names and labels in dance music, earning himself a strong global fan base and performing in over 200 cities worldwide.

In 2016, Peyton hit the headlines when he auditioned for the UK’s X FACTOR. Described by the judges as “pure class”, Peyton was quickly tipped to make the live shows until a controversial decision by Sharon Osbourne at the judges houses resulted in Peyton leaving the competition early for the much-maligned Honey G. The decision caused chaos amongst his fans who vowed never to watch the show again and begged him to release an album.

That very album is SINNERS GOT SOUL and it has been three years in the making. Teaming up with producer James Reynolds (best known for his work with Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Snoop Dog, Tinie Tempah, Years & Years), SINNERS GOT SOUL sees Peyton depart from his usual House music style to a wider musical genre inspired by gospel, soul, blues and 21st century pop.

The 13 track album opens with the two minute KEEP ON RISING as Peyton’s trademark soulful vocals and uplifting lyrics establish him into the new genre, before moving straight into his first single WHEN THEY GO LOW, an anti-bullying anthem inspired by Michelle Obama’s celebrated speech (which also features on the track) at the National Democratic Convention.

Not wanting to feel restricted by his dance music past, there is a clear shift to more soulful, mature nature on this album, with soul and gospel flourishes sipping through on tracks like ALL WAYS UP, a track commissioned by Peyton’s friend to become a charity anthem and BE MY ENOUGH, a luscious hymnal love song written by Peyton for his husband on their wedding day.

Fans of Peyton’s previous work will recongise the soul-stirring I’LL RISE, an empowering poem by poet and activist Maya Angelo which Peyton performed for the X FACTOR judges in his audition, and a new version of A HIGHER PLACE, Peyton’s breakout hit for Hed Kandi Records, which has been stripped right back and given a distinctive gospel feel thanks to its evangelical backing vocals.

Stand out tracks include CARRY YOU, Peyton’s new single, JOY, a reggae inspired number and JERICHO, a stirring soul number with catchy hand claps.

Yet while all of the tracks are lyrically uplifting, as the album draws to a close you are ultimately left wanting more, with THE WAY I LOVE YOU, a heartfelt piano-led pop track, ballad ALL THAT MATTERS and the sweeping, cinematic closer MY SONG 4 U, all sounding very similar in style and lacking any real melodic hooks or catchy beats.

That said, this is a bold decision by Peyton to make a move out of the sound he’s best known for and for the most part, the album works. SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO also marks a change for the 47-year old artist who has matured musically over the past few years, proving he is ready to step off the dance floor into new genre with a much wider audience.

3.5 out of 5 stars

SINNERS GOT SOUL TOO is released on 9 February 2018 via Peyton Music.