Archive for ‘Album Reviews’

February 3, 2011

Preview Review (James Vincent McMorrow’s Early in the Morning)

James Vincent McMorrow’s debut album Early in the Morning, which finally receives stateside release this January, comes at you largely in a whisper that could be mistaken for Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. For the listener to make that assumption however could be critical- for them, not McMorrow. The singer-songwriter probably owes a greater debt to Crosby Stills Nash and Young, or Donny Hathaway, whom he confesses lured him away from hardcore music for good, though does have a higher register similar to Vernon. Early in the Morning also features a haunting homespun sound, stemming from the album’s recording in isolation at a house in Ireland by the sea. McMorrow is overspilling with his own softly-strummed talent however. Early in the Morning achieved chart-topping success in Ireland in 2010 and deserves the full attention and praise critics have to offer here.

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January 21, 2011

Preview Review (Cut Copy’s Zonoscope)

It feels like forever that we’ve been waiting for Aussie band Cut Copy to put out another LP after In Ghost Colours. A veritable century, even, when it’s only been two years: their sophomore success was released in 2008. Two years is not a long period of time during the average human lifespan, but when we are talking about music careers, perhaps it is just long enough to build up enough anticipation that provides a challenge for the new album to overcome. Long build-up after a highly regarded record can be a problem. Just ask Justin Timberlake.

I have to admit, my snap first conclusion after listening to Zonoscope was, “Not as good as In Ghost Colours!” Thank goodness first impressions are not always lasting ones.

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January 21, 2011

Preview Review (Adele’s 21)

Adele’s sophomore album 21 is a slow-burn, moody effort. More precisely, it’s like lighting old love letters on fire. You stand around one night, watching the ends curl up, crisp and go black, float upwards in sparks. It’s very much an album about remembering what it was like to fall in love, and falling out of love again. She said she was influenced by American music and describes her efforts as a “dark bluesy gospel disco.” I’m picking up hints of jazz as well, especially in her cover of “Lovesong”. It works completely, every turn towards Americana.

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