James Vincent McMorrow: Post Tropical
When James Vincent McMorrow’s stunning debut, Early in the Morning, was released, comparisons to successful folk acts like Bon Iver abounded. McMorrow could have played it safe and stuck to the acoustic formula for his sophomore offering, but thankfully, he didn’t. Post Tropical elevates him from a talented musician to a true artist.
Post Tropical brilliantly sidesteps genre because each song has such sonic progression. Each layer of sound is deliberate and complements McMorrow’s voice, which is capable of some staggering falsetto. From the start, the listener knows that this isn’t going to be guitar-driven indie. Lead single “Cavalier” summons up R&B smoothness and horns with a soulful refrain of “I remember my first love.” Directly following this is the mystical track, “The Lakes,” which layers mandolins to sound like a string version of churning water.
Live favorite “Red Dust” takes on a new life in record form with a digital beat and layered harmonies. “Look Out” could be covered by any soul artist and sound essentially as it does on this record. “Glacier” starts out with McMorrow’s more stripped-back sound as he describes a desolate landscape in the winter, but after a minute, the clapping beat kicks in to kick the song up to another level. By the time the horns come in, a simple track has gained, dear I say it, danceability.
I could honestly go through this album and explore my thoughts on every track, but that is not in the interest of being short and sweet. By releasing this in January, McMorrow has thrown down a challenge to every artist who follows. Post Tropical is individual, stunning, and an instant classic.