He's certainly tried his damndest; penning a collection of big but undeniably distinctive hits to counter 2009's Reality Killed The Video Star, which he (now) claims was "half-arsed" and lacking in anything memorable. Lead single 'Candy' sees him hitting his stride with almost too much eagerness as it veers dangerously close into novelty, despite being co-written by Take That bandmate and longtime frenemy Gary Barlow.
That said, what's left more than lives up to his puffed-up chatter. Torch song 'Different' and annoyingly catchy 'S**t on the Radio' forgo any leftfield artsiness he's attempted on previous records and instead concentrate on interesting lyric patterns and - crucially - chart-friendly melodies. The latter has been done under the guidance of Jacknife Lee, whose previous credits including U2 and Snow Patrol will come as no surprise.
Elsewhere, thumping stadium number 'Hunting For You' is equipped with a chorus destined to evoke plenty of air guitar, while the orchestral whistles peppered throughout 'Into The Silence' and growly sing-speaking on 'Hey Wow Yeah Yeah' keeps things sufficiently modern. The result is a collection of expertly-crafted inspirational rock pop that, for a comeback, is about as good as they come.
Tracks to download: 'S**t on the Radio', 'Different', 'Gospel', 'Hunting For You'
If you like this, you'll like: Will Young, Olly Murs
Watch the 'Candy' music video below: