About Me

My photo
Cork, Ireland
An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

James Vincent McMorrow

I seem to be on a roll lately. I am encountering better and better records as the days go by, and a huge portion of these, I am glad to say, are the product of Irish artists. At Last An Atlas, Patrick Kelleher, Fionn Regan... We can now add the simply wonderful James Vincent McMorrow to that list.

While doing my daily trawl of blogs last night I came across one (which I have spent a good half hour looking for today and for the life of me I can't remember who it was!) that described this Irish singer-songwriter as "an Irish Bon Iver" - this was enough to catch my gaze. I got my hands on If I Had A Boat and Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree and was so impressed that I stopped in HMV on my way to college this morning to buy the album, Early in the Morning.

Since I got home at around 2 o'clock, I have played this cd non-stop. It is absolutely stunning.

I can see where the inevitable Justin Vernon comparisons are coming from - the two bare a strong vocal comparison, while McMorrow also took to solitude to put his songs to record (in the sleeve notes we are told that it was a little house by the beach rather than an isolated woodland cabin), however there is more on offer here than a tribute to For Emma, Forever Ago.

McMorrow's music is heavily in debted to his influences - Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley; while it is also clear to hear the influence of contemporary artists such as Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses and Sam Beam. Both vocally and instrumentally, Early in the Morning is shaped by these artists and it provides a stunning patchwork that is deserving of a place in the annals of Irish musical history.

This album does not possess the same rustic charm as the likes of For Emma, Forever Ago or Fleet Foxes, though it more than makes up for this with a heartbreaking emotional intimacy that I have not felt since the former, as well as the glorious vocals that garnered both widespread appraisal.

The eleven tracks on the record roll seamlessly into one another, beginning with the sombre If I Had A Boat and evolving into the rather more upbeat and folky Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Low. Track 3, Sparrow and the Wolf is the peak of the album in terms of energy, though the intimacy and delicacy of the record is never let go. This Old Dark Machine, From The Woods!!, We Don't Eat, And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop... The beautiful folk sensibilities are aplenty here. McMorrow has taken the best of his inspirations and sewn together a patchwork that will last through the ages.

A triumph and a must have. It joins the list of essential modern Irish records - Fitzcarraldo, O, The End of History, necessary for any record collection in my opinion.

Check out the magnificent James Vincent McMorrow at:

It has also come to my attention that James will be on tonights (Wednesay 10th March, repeated next Sunday the 14th) Other Voices - should be well worth a look!

No comments:

Post a Comment