Julian Le Play has surprisingly never made it big on the international stage. Although perhaps it is the lack of German language music in the international arena that has held him back, his studio albums to date have always shown his ability to take the current soundscape and blend it into his own distinctive mix. Throw in his rather lush soulful vocal and there is an effortlessly winning vocal. As he releases his fourth studio album, which has been teased by a stunning selection of singles, could he finally clock up an international breakthrough with the Madeline Juno and toksi featuring Tandem?
There is no denying that the album is worthy of acclaim outside his home country, but the seeming radio aversion to German as a language outside of German-speaking territories could well hinder what is an epic radio record from reaching its full potential. This, however, is not a criticism. Having dabbled with English language recordings, Julian sounds equally powerful in both languages, but the emotional depth of his German songs is currently more potent.
While there is no denying that the very pretty balladry of Stein ins Meer is perhaps that most direct correlation with the Dermot Kennedy, Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi recording domination of the last few years, it is when the pop edge kicks in on the steady kicks of Millionär and impressive Madeline Juno collaboration Sonne & Mond that Tandem really raises the bar.
However, it is with the blissfully vocaled toksi on the almost Garage vibes of Hellwach and Tony Rich meets Mark Forster leaning of album closer Bergauf that Tandem shines the brightest.
All in all Tandem is another striking collection from an artist who doesn't disappoint.