James Vincent McMorrow
Post Tropical



by Multifarious USER (14 Reviews)
January 24th, 2014 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An island fit for both pink feathers and white fur.

There’s a message engrained in the artwork of Post Tropical, the sophomore release from Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow, that easily melts away as the tracklist winds down. It’s at first an image of contrast: a flamingo on a tropical beach in the foreground while a polar bear stares out to sea from an iceberg floating on the right. With this paradox, the question arises about whether Post Tropical is a focus on frigid feelings or a variation on warmer moods. But the ultimate image McMorrow paints leans neither way, and instead solicits the feeling of lying in winter’s first snow in a position directly exposed to the rays of the sun. It is ultimately as blissful an experience as this analogy makes it out to be.

It’s first worth noting that the beauty on Post Tropical is in a rather different style from McMorrow’s debut, Early in the Morning. Whereas the latter release focused primarily on a wholesome folk approach, Post Tropical sees McMorrow pushing himself into territory more comparable to the work of someone like James Blake. His instrumental choices show a prominent incorporation of electronics, brass, strings and synthetic beats, all with a focus on more detailed, layered compositions. Vocally, McMorrow’s singing and control of it are stupendous throughout the album. While McMorrow most closely resembles Blake’s soulful delivery, there are hints of Sampha (SBTRKT) and Tom Krell (How to Dress Well) in his lower and higher registries.

All of this together produces tracks that feel like maximalist minimalism: the overall tone is one of vastness and peace, but every component of this feeling has been meticulously constructed by McMorrow. It’s to the point that picking specific tracks to discuss from the album’s ten offerings is a challenge. Both of the pre-release singles, “Cavalier” and “Red Dust,” do an excellent job of setting the standard high early on in the album and are some of the most obvious references to Blake. The mid-album piano ballad “Look Out” is another highlight, with very little chance at an avoidance of tears. Then there’s the title track, which might be the best example of how masterfully McMorrow continually evolves and refreshes Post Tropical’s sound with apparent ease. In the end, this decet works so much better as a whole experience and should be heard as such.

While artists may often oversell their music’s contextual message, there’s a clear truth in McMorrow’s description of Post Tropical having remnants from the Southern Texas pecan farm at which it was recorded. McMorrow posits how a close listen can reveal the literal sounds of “the hot bedded air…the birds on the trees…[and] the train going by.” These feelings arrive on the album as fond memories of experiences past while lying back in the snowy scene described above. This may be the strongest appeal of the album: its insinuation of positive recollection. It’s as if the listener isn’t directly given the feelings of warmth, but instead given the ability to conjure these sensations themselves. The result is nothing short of sublime.

Recent reviews by this author
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Give the People What They WantMogwai Rave Tapes
Patterns Waking LinesPainted Palms Forever
Hexis AbalamSelf Defense Family Try Me
user ratings (49)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
January 24th 2014


Could never get into this guy, good review still. Pos

Digging: Moral Decay - To Build an End

January 25th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

Loved his first album, is this as good at all? Interested in Tom Krell-ish ness as well. never noticed

that before

January 25th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

You are right about this guy’s voice. It is "stupendous" (great word choice). This album is growing into a 4 for me, and it is all about his voice.

February 1st 2014


pleasantly surprised by this album. nice review!

March 3rd 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

just gorgeous

August 7th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this is such a lovely album

August 7th 2014


heard this once and its pretty good. gonna jam this again soon.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy