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Long before Mumford & Sons discovered the mighty power of the banjo there was James Blunt, the Old Harrovian cavalry officer with a stack of platinum discs and a hornet’s nest of haters. His fourth album is a stick to stir up the latter, from Blunt’s tremulous high croon to maudlin songcraft about relationships going wrong.

“Sun on Sunday” isn’t a News International takedown by one of its phone-hacking victims; instead it’s a piano ballad in which the singer pleads not to be given the romantic heave-ho. “Always Hate Me” isn’t a defiant two fingers to the critics; instead it’s a Coldplay-inspired anthem about an angry ex. The provocation reaches a peak on “Bonfire Heart”, a Mumfords-style foot stomper in which the man with the chalet in Verbier and the villa in Ibiza sings the heartfelt refrain: “People like us don’t need much”.

James Blunt

Moon Landing

(Atlantic)

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