On this EP follow-up to his 2010 debut, Early in the Morning, James Vincent McMorrow solicits more than one double takeyoull want to make sure you hit play on one of McMorrows tracks, and not one by Bon Ivers Justin Vernon.
McMorrow must know that his voice will invite inescapable comparisons to the Wisconsin troubadour, especially after Vernons recent string of Grammy wins shoved his airy melodies into the mainstream limelight. McMorrows mastered the signature falsetto croon that has become Vernons calling card, and hes not shy or secretive about the fact that he wrote much of his first album while secluded in a beach house on the coast of his native Ireland, a la Bon Ivers much-touted creation myth. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, McMorrow has distilled it into an art form. He even sports a beard.
This comparison doesnt always work in McMorrows favor. If Justin Vernon is an impressionist, painting with broad, colorful and abstract brush strokes, McMorrow is a realist, articulating every concrete line, detail and emotion. He seems afraid that the picture wont come across if he doesnt.
We dont eat until your fathers at the table, we dont drink until the devils turned to dust, McMorrow croons in We Dont Eat, with more feeling than Adam Levine has managed to muster up in his entire career. He (McMorrow) is not afraid of laying all of his emotional cards on the table, but in a way that sort of reminds you of that guy (or girl) in college who was a little too into you after your singular hookup. The song is compelling, but almost feels written to suit a highly emotional scene in a teen drama (it was actually used in an episode of The Vampire Diaries).
McMorrow is a skilled wordsmith, and he knows how to write a damn fine melody. What hes created here is a five-song collection that is excellent music to fall asleep to, but with his obvious talent, he can stand to aim a little higher than that.
Essential Tracks: “We Dont Eat”, “Higher Love”