LISTEN: Niall Horan brings soft touch with new single

Niall Horan. (Photo: Getty Images)
Niall Horan. (Photo: Getty Images)

New York - One Direction's Niall Horan released a soft breakup ballad last week with echoes of the heartthrob boy band as he announced his debut solo album.

Horan announced on social media that his album Flicker will come out on 20 October followed by a tour in 2018 of the United States and Canada.

The 24-year-old Irish singer marked the announcement by releasing a track off the album entitled Too Much to Ask, a piano-led ballad in which Horan, his voice turning soulful, mourns the end of a relationship.

The song is produced by Greg Kurstin, the increasingly in-demand musician best known for co-writing Adele's smash hit Hello.

Kurstin also worked with Horan on the first track off Flicker, the acoustic guitar ballad This Town.

Horan's soft touch is more consistent with One Direction than the solo music of his two most successful bandmates.

Listen to Niall's new song here:

Zayn Malik cast away One Direction's squeaky-clean image to go for a sensual, urban vibe, while Harry Styles surprised critics with an album that sounded influenced by 1970s David Bowie.

One Direction, formed when the five young men auditioned for the British reality show The X Factor, turned into one of the best-selling bands of the decade, packing arenas worldwide with screaming teenage girls.

The band went on an indefinite hiatus after an album at the end of 2015 while stopping short of calling it quits.