The second album from James Vincent McMorrow sees the Irish music-maker dramatically broaden his musical horizons. The folk pop of his 2010 debut Early In The Morning has magically converted into something that more accurately represents McMorrow’s own musical tastes, involving fewer guitars, RnB inklings and many, many more layers.
McMorrow is clearly a fan of the full-bodied chorus. The Lakes builds up a massive swell towards the end of the song and fades out with tropical twangs evocative of the oddly paradoxical album art (because every tropical setting should include a polar bear lurching from an iceberg in the background, obviously).
You could find anything in Post Tropical if you listen closely enough; tapping raindrops intercepting with foot thudding in All Points, broad, thunderous brass and glittering syncopation in Gold, and atmospheric RnB in almost every song, but especially in the single and album highlight Cavalier. Hand-clapping and gospel-like coos feature in the more vocally-driven Glacier, to wondrous effect.
Something must be said about McMorrow’s vocals – a constant falsetto reminiscent of Justin Vernon – that reaches seemingly unnatural heights in pitch, yet does so without sounding lofty. McMorrow has put his everything into this album and it shows, no more so than in his emotion-drenched vocals and lyrics. Red Dust closes with McMorrow repeating: ‘Sometimes my hands, they don’t feel like my own/I need someone to love, I need someone to hold’ and his heartfelt cries at the end of Outside, Digging tug at something deep.
James Vincent McMorrow wanted to make the most beautiful thing he could imagine with Post Tropical – suffice it to say, what he thinks is beautiful is hard to argue with.
BY KATIE DAVERN
Best Track: Outside, Digging.
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: JAMES BLAKE.
In A Word: Heartfelt.