For his first record of original music in a decade, Sting continues his restless musical journey by delving into musical theater. Many of the songs here will appear in the upcoming Broadway collaboration about a crosscurrent of stories amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in a small English town. Eloquent and stately, the tracks bring traditional English folk music to broader theatrical conventions. Sting gives voice to the characters and narration so his vocals sometimes strain for showy affectation. No doubt these songs will have more shades when sung by a varied cast. There are lovely moments, including “I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else” and soulful duet with Becky Unthank, “So to Speak.” “And Yet” is a delicious hybrid with jazzy undertones. The orchestral arrangements are subtle while the musical ensemble and diverse guests shine. Unfortunately, the set doesn’t quite command as a fully realized piece. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “I Love Her But She Loves Someone Else”
Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.