Columbia - 2004 - 50 minutes

Heartthrob looks and good choruses, Tom Baxter is halfway there already. But behind the cheekbones and glossy production is a debut album with depths and where not one song is wasted.

While Baxter sometimes gets too much value for money from a string section, as 'Feather & Stone's superb brooding closer 'Scorpio Boy' shows, his soaring vocals sound just as good when the music is stripped down.

First listens alone are enough to pull you into the left-unfinished-love of 'Almost There' and romance-on-a-leash of 'Under the Thumb', with the singalong troubadour's brand of bittersweet never losing its taste. Baxter will make many friends with some of the anthems on this record - but you'd love to hear him with just his guitar for company.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: My Declaration - This Boy - Under the Thumb - Girl from the Hills - The Moon & Me - A Day in Verona - All Comes True - Almost There - Don't Let Go - Scorpio Boy