Label: Republic Records
Released: 23 March 2015
In One Line: An example of beautifully captivating folk song writin
Tipped Hit: Need the Sun to Breakg
Favourite Track: Let It Go
Favourite moment: We live through scars this time
Favourite Lyric: ‘The world will turn and we’ll grow, we’ll learn how to be, to be incomplete’
James Bay’s debut album Chaos and the Calm is 12 songs, a combined 45 minutes and 36 seconds, of pure emotional rollercoaster. Each song differs from the last, with feel good, toe-tapping, hand- clapping tracks such as ‘Craving’, ‘Get Out While You Can’ and ‘Best Fake Smile’ to melancholic thinkers such as ‘Scars’, ‘Move Together’ and ‘Incomplete’. The album of course features the massive hits ‘Let It Go’, and Bay’s huge debut hit ‘Hold Back the River’, which has taken the charts by storm.
Often annoyed by how little substance there are in many albums now a days, where the only songs worth listening to are the ones they feature on the TV advert; this album is a breath of fresh air. I will admit, prior to its release I was anxious to see if this album would fall victim to the ‘songwriter curse’. Often with (particularly male) singer-songwriters, their iconic sound leads to many tracks sounding very similar. Thankfully however, the varied rhythms and melodies of Bay’s bloody good guitar work means that every song has its own personal style and story. James Bay’s talents with the guitar are an aspect of his music which must be noted. The instrument is beautifully crafted around the songs, from hard-hitting riffs that Hendrix would be proud of, to delicate, soft touches that just add the perfect bed of melody to the all-important lyrics.
What I love most about this album is its emotion. His rusty, soulful voice adds an incredible honesty and sentiment behind the lyrics, and you really do feel the story he is so expertly narrating you. If you want to wake up to an uplifting beat, and then fall asleep to a chilled, personal acoustic track, then this album has it; and I couldn’t recommend it higher.