James Vincent McMorrow - One Thousand Times
- Review by Noël Duplaa
Info: Building on his second major reinvention in as many albums, James Vincent McMorrow’s new single 'One Thousand Times' from his third album, We Move, finds him in a mournful and groovy place. Essentially a lonely soul ballad, pushing forward on an 80’s reverbed snare, the song continues the album’s themes of exploring his dark places armed only with his distinctive falsetto and warm, analog synths.
There’s an interview with Louis CK where he describes his process of coming up with a new hour of comedy every year: as external observations dry up, you’re forced to dig further and further into yourself to find new material. McMorrow seems to be reflecting this process, with the drastic shifts from Early in the Morning’s acoustic troubadour and Post Tropical’s 808 driven hip-pop to this current mournful soul, mirrored by his newfound unflinching introspection, here attempting to both understand and save a doomed relationship.
McMorrow has said that his third album’s minimalistic departure from the hip hop and orchestral flourishes of sophomore effort Post-Tropical stemmed from his relationship with producer Nineteen85 - the man behind some of Drake’s biggest hits 'Hold On, We’re Going Home', 'Hotline Bling' and 'One Dance'. While his warm, analog, pulsing minimalism is all over this track, the real key here is how much the production steps back, choosing to frame and focus on McMorrow’s voice, which is more than capable of holding this coiled and humming world together.
His trademark falsetto hangs mournful and unsure over the verses, but resolute and bolstered by harmony in the chorus, matching the song’s push and pull between worried regret and, well, worried determination. It's a beautiful sleight of hand: as he wrestles with this losing battle, the driving pulse of the snare and the power of the harmonised vocal add a sense of assurance that the yearning lyrics can never quite muster, and then, suddenly, the chorus is finished, everything falls away and only a glimmer of reverb acts as reminder that anything was ever there at all.
Following on from his recent sold out shows in Cork and Belfast, it has also been announced that James' next Irish gig will take place in Trinity College Dublin, on July 7th. In the meantime, the Dublin songwriter heads to Australia and Japan for shows in March.