Posted: July 3, 2022 in MUSIC

An artist with a myriad of strings to his bow, A gifted wordsmith, multi-instrumentalist, captivating storyteller what enables James Vincent McMorrow’s singularly personal songs to take flight is the fact that he’s also a supreme melodist.

“The Less I Knew” is chock full of killer chorus hooks, with album opener “Hurricane”, in which McMorrow’s gloriously harmonised vocal line is supported by the additional ear candy of Alex Borwick’s horn parts, being a case in point. Borwick also supplies some driving mandolin work on “Heads Look Like Drums”, as well as engineering and mixing the album – a very handy man to have around. The stream-of-consciousness “Steven” explores the existential comfort which nostalgia can provide, while acknowledging the impossibility of returning home.

Gently borne along by a hypnotically repeating syncopated chord on the piano which seems to bathe McMorrow’s lead vocal in a warm harmonic cloud, the arresting opening line of the title track conjures up the surrealist imagery of a Kafka short story: “A beating heart is thrown out of a car in the dark, I find it and I check it for scars and make sure it’s clean.”

Augmented by surround sound synth pads, the monolithic groove and slightly grungier stylings of “The Reason That I Died” packs a real punch, while the brilliant “Lighten Up” showcases McMorrow’s penchant for harmonic and textural surprise. The stripped back simplicity of acoustic guitar, call-and-response backing vocals and repeating sample which haunts “I Am a Masterpiece” perfectly sets up the album closer, “A Lot To Take”, which inexorably builds to a soaring chorus which McMorrow delivers in a euphoric falsetto.

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