James Vincent McMorrow – The Less I Knew
The world that James Vincent McMorrow lets us see on The Less I Knew revolves around reflection and failure. The urge to leave, the rainy streets of New York and blossoming love are included by the Irish musician who has become a staple on the scene over the last decade. McMorrow attempts to find more of himself again after two years of global inaction. On his new record, there are moments where he hits gold but there are others where he’s still searching.
Filled with unstoppable nostalgia, memories come thick and fast on the opening half of The Less I Knew. The trumpets add a visceral depth that transforms acoustic softness to thundering excitement, especially on Hurricane. This opening track sets a precedent for the rest of the album. Moving between fondness and slight antipathy, McMorrow lets the past wash over him.
Lighten Up does have a tinge of early ‘00s cringe that can be forgiven when the track breaks down with his airy vocals and synths. The soulful A Lot to Take wonderfully emulates the lack of security in the future. McMorrow attempts to ground himself in his memories whilst facing into an unsure present.
Part of a two-part release, The Less I Knew shows the binary of McMorrow’s sound. Being one half of a whole, there’s hope for more extremity and less subtlety. He teeters on the edge of grandiosity on the more upbeat tracks, something he should push for. He gives us a taste of his vulnerability which leaves you wanting more.
Words: Sophia McDonald