What with all the Les Mis hype and the recent success of Sweeney Todd, it's a good time for Michael Ball to release a new album.
But then, it's always a good time for Michael Ball to release a new album.
Though theatre fans might know him best for his turns as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and of course that revolutionary student, he's been recording regularly over the past 20 years, releasing a repertoire that mixes musicals with pop classics and even the occasional rock standard.
With Both Sides Now, he's in mellow mood, but with that theatrical delivery that makes a song distinctively his. The title track is a fine example - swooping orchestrations and intimate vocals (plus a subtle key change) make the listener imagine this being performed at a pensive moment of a show.
Speaking of which, it's interesting to hear his interpretation of Suddenly - the new song written for Hugh Jackman to perform in the Les Miserables movie. Certainly Ball's take on it is much more polished and emotive than the raw film performance - those who were disappointed with what they heard on film may like to give the song another try.
He also gives a smooth swing version of I Won't Send Roses from Mack and Mabel - perhaps a little less world-weary than the usual Mr Sennett's - and rounds off the album with another reimagining of Love Changes Everything, accompanied by Il Divo.
Michael Ball, Both Sides Now, is out on February 25; his new single The Perfect Song is out next month.