Album Review: James Vincent McMorrow’s Joe Haddow finds a longplayer to warm the cold British evenings:

If the wind is howling against the walls and the rain is spattering against the window panes, then “Post Tropical” may provide you with the perfect soundtrack. With nods to Anthony & the Johnsons and James Blake, James Vincent McMorrow’s latest LP will suit anyone who is warm and cosy with a glass of dark and rich red wine.

The album opens on Cavalier – a beautiful track starting on James’ high and very dynamic vocal and introducing instruments to build up as the song goes on – is the perfect opener to this wistful and minimal album. What follows are a series of sparse tracks, which showcase McMorrow’s vocal and reinforce what a good songwriter he is. Some tracks are less produced than others, leaving us wanting a little more, but also satisfying the ears with lush lyrics and arrangements. Red Dust is a little bit more electronic – in the style of James Blake – whereas All Points could have been taken from Ben Howard’s debut album, with added drums and bass drone. This mix of production creates a really interesting listen and an album that puts the voice at the centre of every track.

Individually, only a few of the tracks would really stand out, but as a complete package this record makes for a good listen. Looking Out is heartbreaking, leaving you looking for a reason to cry but not knowing why, whilst Outside, Digging (the LPs closer) is almost an amalgamation of all of the tracks that we’ve just heard. It would be easy to band about the line “all the songs sound the same” and it would be true, they do. But it is his sound and he does it well. I don’t think it’s a record I will re-visit in years to come – but as the nights are still cold in the UK and the rain is still beating down, this will serve as a hot water bottle for the ears.

Post Tropical is released this January.

Joe Haddow


Review by Joe Haddow