With a successful year under his belt, which includes the UK release of debut album Early In The Morning and an appearance on Later…with Jools Holland, Irish singer songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is now trying to make an impression the other side of the Atlantic. Although his latest eponymous EP was a US only release, digital versions are available internationally.
Despite a slender runtime of 15 minutes, the EP works well both as an introduction to McMorrow and as a release of interest for those already familiar with his debut album. Opener 'If I had A Boat' starts with an accapella vocal reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes, however a slide guitar soon ushers in a country feeling to provide a backdrop for the melancholy lyrics. "Once I had a dream, it died long before, now I'm pointed north, hoping for the shore".
While a theme of lost love runs through the song, the chorus ups the tempo to underline a sense of conviction that there will be a resolution. As one of the strongest songs on the album it's a good choice for an EP that's effectively a showcase for McMorrow's talent.
Second track 'We Don't Eat' is also taken from Early In The Morning, but acts as a better example of the cleverly layered vocal harmonies that McMorrow is capable of creating. The catchy melodies and instrumentation reveal a confidence in song writing usually demonstrated by far more established artists. A fascination with nature and folklore is also evident here, common themes which are used in many of his songs.
The following two tracks are both 8-track demos. The first of which 'From The Woods!!' is remarkably different from the incarnation released on McMorrow's debut album. It's a more delicate rendition lacking some menace, due to the stripped back instrumentation. However the two guitars on both songs provide an opportunity to reveal how vocal parts and harmonies are constructed which makes them just as compelling.
The eponymous EP acts more as a companion piece to Early In The Morning, than a stand alone release. However the quality of the song writing and the unfamiliarity of a primarily American audience with the material here, does justify it's existence. If you need an introduction to James Vincent McMorrow, here's your perfect opportunity.