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Album Review: James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical

2 min read

Ireland is known for it’s abundance of brilliant musicians. Coming from the same roots as U2 and Enya, is James Vincent McMorrow. Originating from Dublin, folk singer/songwriter McMorrow brings out the delightful Post Tropical which follows up his debut album Early In The Morning.

James Vincent McMorrow Post TropicalWhile having Higher Love as his only single from a previous EP We Don’t Eat, McMorrow’s music clearly made an impact in the music scene. Often compared to American band Bon Iver, he has featured in the UK’s popular music TV show Later…With Jools Holland.

His song Follow You Down The Red Oak Tree was also featured in the British indie-film Third Star. Follow You Down The Red Oak Tree represented just how captivating McMorrow’s music could be, and it’s evident that his ambient-like folk style is just as present in Post Tropical.

However, McMorrow’s newest album is also full of experimentations. From the opening track Cavalier you can tell the album isn’t just going to be full of acoustic tracks. As the smooth vocals start singing, an organ soon follows and plays throughout the song as the main accompaniment. Along with small flicks of a bass guitar, delicate drumming and a booming brass section joining later on, Cavalier brings McMorrow’s music into a jazzier sound.

As the album progresses, it seems like each song brings out it’s own special quality. Gold features an infectious beat, that carries the song through the playful back-up vocals that calls back to McMorrow’s voice. Then there’s the twinkling sounds that welcomes you into Post Tropical. The song seems to wax and wane as it constantly goes from a power-driven track that grows with every pound of the drum, to a light hearted piece with claps and clicking.  Then there’s Repeating, which is surprisingly the only song that features an acoustic guitar. The intricate guitar riff is played throughout the piece, as the title may have suggested, but it’s the little glittery sounds that catch your attention.

Despite what seems like a massive change from his previous works, McMorrow is still present in every song. His distinct voice, no matter how varied the instrumentation may be, takes centre stage. At times the sharpness of his vocals feels like it will pierce through your ears, but in a good way. And it also helps that his voice seems to magically fit into all the different styles in the album. Whether a piano, an electronic beat or a guitar is playing his rich velvety vocals boldly stands out.

While Post Tropical is being released McMorrow continues to tour, making his way back to the UK as he has just finished playing in Australia. Released through Believe Recordings in the UK, Vagrant Records for the US and Dew Process for Australia, Post Tropical represents McMorrow’s musical capabilities and shows that he’s not like any other folk singer around.