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Album Review: James Vincent McMorrow – True Care

2 min read
Photo: Dew Process Australia

Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has ‘done a Beyonce’ and surprise released his fourth studio album True Care merely a week in advance. This record sees McMorrow stay true to his soft roots, and maturing into a wise musician.

 Deciding to surprise release this record came from a desire to break free from traditional industry album cycles and capitalise on his creative force and energy. Whilst McMorrow whilst not be the most well known artist around, True Care has come as a warm surprise to many. December 2914 is a strong opener, matching McMorrow’s soft tones to a hesitant yet powerful rhythm. There is strength in subtlety, and with it McMorrow can lift mountains with his words. The album’s title track was probably written in a cosy log cabin, or so you will picture in your head. The lonely echo at the beginning express feelings of isolation in young adulthood. James Vincent McMorrow feels like the missing link between the traditional sounds of Fleet Foxes and the more contemporary work of Bon Iver, blending both the classic with the current to create warm swirls of sound.

Any song that name checks a band like The National is going to be a winner, enter McMorrow with the aptly titled National and it’s a recipe for success. The piano refrain puts the focus on McMorrow’s voice, backing it up with height and depth. Huge crescendo’s don’t work for every song, and there is a self confidence here that knows when to hold back and let the music speak for itself.

After the brief Interlude No. 1, there is Constellations, a darker and altogether moodier affair that highlights the many layers there are to McMorrow. There are complex emotions at work here, all being expressed through songs that track the uncertainty of life and relationships. Bears sees this record head in a much jazzier direction, and whilst it is in keeping with the overall journey, it’s much harder to access and appreciate.

The second interlude is full of passion and love, but the usage of breaks in records is still something that will forever seem quite style over substance. Change Of Heart and Glad It’s Raining guide the album to a more soulful ending. Much of the proceeding contributions are very mellow, but the latter song is the most electrified McMorrow has ever sounded.

Let’s class Don’t Wait Forever as the final track on True Care, because outro’s are vastly overrated. This cut sees McMorrow at his most experimental, and could have easily slotted in amongst Bon Iver’s stunning back catalogue. Many comparisons will be drawn between the two, but there is something about James Vincent McMorrow that seems much more human and vulnerable.

True Care is a heart-warming surprise that delivers exactly what it says on the tin. A caring album that will warm the cockles of anyone who needs a little bit more love in their world right now.