James Vincent McMorrow - If I Had a Boat EP

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2010-11-22

"Bon Iver! Bon Iver!" you'll cry as James sets into his four song EP. His hushed, sorrowful lyrics have much the same feel as the aforementioned artist but in terms of production and structure he does have a something different up his sleeve.

Title track 'If I Had a Boat' plays much like a Bon Iver song but whereas Justin Vernon uses words sparingly, McMorrow goes further; he even moves through more instruments and emotions. He begins downtrodden but ends the song with a more positive crescendo. 'This Old Dark Machine' has some swagger in the organ/bass combo but in the end the choral layered vocals are both borrowed and disposable. The two eight-tack demos have an understandably more intimate feel and while they offer nothing new in the grand scheme of things they lend themselves better to the eloquent lyrics on offer. For the hushed picking of 'Like the River', the layered vocals are dropped and the intimacy is quadrupled. What's more, there is a fantastically slow solo piece which floats the song to another level.

As far as the Autumnal/Winter sorrow sound goes James Vincent McMorrow doesn't break the mould but he certainly shifts around inside of it a little. That's the key word: little. There isn't quite enough individuality to make this your new secret favourite record but it's easy enough to appreciate.

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