Sanctuary

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jon O'Brien
When R&B boy band Blue's chart-dominating four-year career came to an end at the beginning of 2005, few would have predicted that laid-back Mancunian Simon Webbe, arguably the third most utilized vocalist behind frontman Lee Ryan and group pinup Duncan James, would become the solo success story of the band. But while Ryan struggled to pull off his Robbie Williams-esque guitar pop transformation and James' career fizzled out before it really began, Webbe was selling out arenas and crossing over to a much older audience than Blue's predominantly teen fan base, thanks to his polished co-penned debut album, Sanctuary. Eschewing the slick Americanized urban vibes most people...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jon O'Brien
When R&B boy band Blue's chart-dominating four-year career came to an end at the beginning of 2005, few would have predicted that laid-back Mancunian Simon Webbe, arguably the third most utilized vocalist behind frontman Lee Ryan and group pinup Duncan James, would become the solo success story of the band. But while Ryan struggled to pull off his Robbie Williams-esque guitar pop transformation and James' career fizzled out before it really began, Webbe was selling out arenas and crossing over to a much older audience than Blue's predominantly teen fan base, thanks to his polished co-penned debut album, Sanctuary. Eschewing the slick Americanized urban vibes most people were anticipating, its 12 tracks instead focus on a much mellower acoustic sound, which, when combined with Webbe's smooth vocal tones, recalls the sun-drenched soul of '90s duo Lighthouse Family rather than the glossy-produced R&B pop of Usher. Lead single and opening track "Lay Your Hands" bridges the gap between his boy band days and solo career perfectly, its scratched vinyl intro, sweeping strings, and helium-voiced sample cleverly combining the hip-hop-fused pop of Blue with a subtle orchestral production indicating a maturity far beyond that of his bandmates. The "Lean on Me"-esque follow-up "No Worries" raises the bar even higher, an effortless attempt at gospel-soul featuring a glorious female vocal hook that is as empowering as it is uplifting. Elsewhere, the title track echoes the expertly crafted pop
ock of Seal's early-'90s material, the banjo/harmonica-led "Time of Your Life" and the twanging guitars of "Unjustified" see Webbe make a surprising but accomplished stab at country-funk, and the stripped-down "Free" is a gorgeous summery ballad that thankfully avoids the vocal histrionics plaguing many of Blue's slower numbers. Only the skittering old-skool beats of "Only Love" and the dancehall-inflected closing track, "Star," offer any concessions to a more contemporary urban sound. The Gallic-infused "After All This Time" veers a little too close toward bland MOR territory, while "A Little High" is a clunky attempt at neo-soul, but overall, taking the softer, chilled-out approach has paid dividends for Webbe, and Sanctuary is the most confident and melodic debut album from a U.K. boy band member since Robbie Williams' Life Thru a Lens.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/14/2005
  • Label: Emi Import
  • UPC: 094634366823
  • Catalog Number: 3436682
  • Sales rank: 197,120

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Lay Your Hands (4:29)
  2. 2 No Worries (3:29)
  3. 3 After All This Time (3:36)
  4. 4 A Little High (3:47)
  5. 5 Time of Your Life (3:35)
  6. 6 Unjustified (3:42)
  7. 7 Free (3:10)
  8. 8 Ashamed (3:33)
  9. 9 Only Love (3:45)
  10. 10 All I Want (3:44)
  11. 11 Star (3:21)
  12. 12 Sanctuary (4:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Simon Webbe Primary Artist, Vocals, Background Vocals
Tim Heintz Keyboards
Chris Braide Multi Instruments
Martin Harrington Keyboards
Al Richardson Harmonica
John Themis Guitar
Reed Vertelney Keyboards, Background Vocals
Simon Hale Strings, Keyboards
Terence Elliott Guitar
Steve DuBerry Background Vocals, Multi Instruments
Ash Howes Bass
Wayne Hector Background Vocals
Yvonne John Lewis Vocals
Tim Woodcock Background Vocals
Jill Zadeh Background Vocals
Pete Gordeno Keyboards, Background Vocals
Matt Prime Banjo, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Accordion, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Multi Instruments
Technical Credits
Chris Braide Producer
Martin Harrington Producer
Nick Ingman String Arrangements
Paul Middleton Engineer, Digital Editing
Bill Padley Composer
Reed Vertelney Arranger, Composer, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Gavyn Wright Orchestra Leader
M.A.C. Composer
Steve DuBerry Programming, Producer
Geoff Pesche Mastering
Ancel Duberry Composer
Ash Howes Producer
Steve Mac Producer
Chris Laws Engineer
Daniel Pursey Engineer
Tim Woodcock Producer
Pete Gordeno Composer
Rob Haggett Engineer
Reece Gilmore Programming
Matt Prime Programming, Producer, String Arrangements
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