PJ Brennan - Confidence Man


The road from soap star to pop star can be paved with fortune (Kylie, Jason, Delta, Natalie) or littered with disaster (though let's face it Stefan Dennis' Don't It Make You Feel Good was an absolute jam). I'll admit I approached Hollyoaks star PJ Brennan's debut single Confidence Man with caution - though the allure of Frankmusik producing the song was definitely strong, particularly after his sterling work on Erasure's Tomorrow's World album. I needn't have been worried - Confidence Man is a lovely pop song that is presented beautifully and has some genuinely earnest & engaging vocals attached to it. Lyrically it's a song that details how love can cast an absolute spell over a person, make you feel better about yourself, make you feel happy - yet examines the more insidious side of this as it can sometimes lead to overlooking things that wouldn't normally be tolerated or, even worse, being metaphorically bound and gagged by this person who seemingly innocuously controls your every move. PJ initially sings with a wistful yearning that frames the solemn reminiscing of the start of his journey during the first verse. As the song and story progress, his vocals seek out every ounce of emotion the track has to offer and exhibits passionate melancholy through to an ultimate resigned elegiac acceptance in his tones. He really does have a verse that doesn't just sing the words but puts his drama experience behind the performance to make it feel like living, breathing art. It's mesmerising to listen to - not least because the elegant melody of the song feels as fragile as a leaf blowing in the breeze yet robust and resilient enough to remain in your head long after the song has finished. The instrumental mirrors the narrative flow of the song also, providing perfect backdrop for the singing. It starts with a mellifluous, flowing piano that is accentuated by almost echoing crashes of percussion. The latter serves to signal a warning that all is not as it seems and as a persistent electro beat shimmies into view it all becomes more urgent and insistent (much like the words themselves). It's a sorrowful tale that takes the juxtaposition of that glorious piano riff and makes that, along with PJ's vocals, the anchor - the delicate facade of romance that has a more ominous undertone. Add to this the haunting video that accompanies the song and it's a breathtaking debut that makes for a more than promising start...
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