Surprise! That scamp James Vincent McMorrow has been busy tinkering away, releasing his latest album True Care with little fanfare. So little, in fact, that you might not realise just how much of a brilliant record it is.
But we don’t let shit like that happen here. McMorrow (please tell us his fan-group are called The Morrowers) has unfairly been slighted in the shadow of bigger acts he may sound similar to. With True Care, it’s fair to say he transcends that and, funnily enough, thanks to the secrecy of that very shadow has re-emerged as a fully-formed artist that others ought to take inspiration from.
It might not be overtly a concept album, but this latest record certainly has more of a thematic thread than any of his previous work. And if there’s a discussion about whether that’s a jellyfish or a UFO on the cover, then that gives you a good indication of what that thread is. On December 2914, McMorrow sets out his mission statement as a fusion of organic and cosmic, blending layers of gospel-like vocals before launching into an otherworldly journey of electronica.
The title track does much the same, almost bluesy in its beginning before adding an extra, synthesised dimension as it kicks into gear. But McMorrow dials it down with a reserved beauty, with National being a sparse piano ballad that will stop you in your tracks with its fragility and exceptional vocal performance. We’d even argue that this is the most impassioned we’ve ever heard him in all these years.
There are flecks of R&B melody in Thank You, a prelude to its vision of galactic Motown funk-soul; similarly, Holding On and Bears blend that artificial voice with deep-rooted emotion in a way not too dissimilar to Francis and the Lights last year. But we could go on about this record – instead we’d implore you to seek it out, embrace its quirks, its sheer invention, and then salute James Vincent McMorrow for producing one of the most exciting and cohesive records of the year.