zaterdag 4 juni 2016
My Love The Drunk. Sir James
Taken at face value Sir James is a totally not dangerous band right up to the moment that a storm breaks loose within a song. Dark turmoil is strewn out over the listener who twists around as after being caught by surprise by a large wave and toppled under. Head, arms, legs all wanting to set off in a different direction. A great experience, that I do not care to enjoy again, dangerous but extremely exciting. Sir James evokes this sensation with its music.
My Love The Drunk? Sounds like Jeff Buckley. That one album released after his death, 'My Sweetheart The Drunk', the album that wasn't supposed to be. That is where comparisons stop though. Sir James is out more in the west coast harmony singing of CSN(&Y). 'Lion' is a great example of that. Layers of harmonies are spread out over the music, in which not a lot seems to be happening. The voices carry the song
Sir James is one of several bands Frank van Kasteren plays in, who featured on this blog once before as Letters To Elijah. Another (or actually same) band is Heer James, an album filled with Dutch songs made for children suffering from cancer, released in 2016. Next to that he plays in the bands Wooden Saints (reviewed) and Orlando.
Tommaso Sarri is the singer and he and Van Kasteren know each other since their school days. In 2004 when they worked in the bulb industry together they met a then 60+ American called James. The two make music together under the name Sir James since 2008 and have released two EPs before My Love The Drunk. The other band members are Ralf Pouw, Anne Punt & Joost Wesseling.
For me Sir James is new and again I am surprised how good music from this country can be. Sir James does nothing new but what it does is interesting and sounds fresh. The music faintly reminds me of the soft side of Admiral Freebee and west coast pop/rock of the 70s. With the likes of Christopher Cross and Jackson Brown Sir James has in common that its songs can sound so smooth, at least in the first two thirds of the album. The upside is the, contrary to the two afore mentioned singers, Sir James carries me away the moment I allow that to happen. Just take the delicate oohs in 'Tuesday Night', one of those reminders of what a band whose members can all sing background vocals can aspire to and reach for. Such effective musical beauty.
On My Love The Drunk Sir James plays with moods. The voice of Sarri is soothing and caresses the ears, supported by the whole band. The songs are all in a mid tempo, the instrumentation elemental, drums, bass, guitar and keys. The mood is like a wave that carries the listener, like in 'Colder Place'. Sir James can be more direct in effect. The rhythm section is extremely tight in 'In The First Light' for example. Tommaso Sarri sings soothingly anyway, sometimes in a higher register. The band can no longer contain itself and goes as near out as Sir James is ever likely to go all out. To make the album better and diverse, the band keeps the rock side up in 'Cold Parade' and combines that with the finest singing on the album.
For those who like to truly listen to somewhat more serious music based on songs without effects is likely to find something of his or her taste on this album. Well thought out compositions and some fine harmonies into which great care has been laid. My Love The Drunk may be over a year old, the belated attention is well deserved.
You can listen to 'Lion' here: