James Bay Reviews The Singles

Covering Royal Blood, Hozier and George Maple…

If you’d not heard of James Bay a couple of weeks ago, chances are you have now. Nods in both the BRIT Critics’ Choice and BBC Sound Of have set the young Hertfordshire singer up as one of next year’s most-tipped newcomers. His latest EP, ‘Hold Back The River’, is freshly out in stores, so you know where to turn to first for a taste of his acclaimed songwriting.

From said EP is the track ‘Hold Back The River’, the video to which is below – right before James’s verdicts on this week’s new single releases.

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Royal Blood – ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’

“Yet another enormous and delicious Royal Blood riff to open this tune. This, for me, is one of the best showcases of Mike Kerr’s voice. The boys have crafted a faultless ‘riff-rock’ sound. But in ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ I notice the strength and tone of Mike’s voice more, too – I particularly love that double-tracked effect throughout the chorus. The track also has a very tasty groove about it, something else this band is becoming well known for. Rock music you can dance to – that’s what I like to hear.”

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George Maple – ‘Talk Talk’

“This is my first time hearing George Maple. It’s not the kind of thing I’d usually go for, but like when I first heard Disclosure and Sam Smith’s ‘Latch’, I’m enjoying its intimate but dancey feel and atmosphere. It grows on me the more I listen to it. I love the muted, ‘dance hall’-style kick drum pattern in the chorus, too.”

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Hozier – ‘From Eden’

“This is one of my favourite songs of Hozier’s and of 2014. I’ve actually been lucky enough to spend the last six weeks hearing it live every night, whilst on tour with him in America. This one is a particularly effortless vocal, married to a gorgeously dusty, loose and swinging rhythm track. And the lyrics are always so striking: ‘A rope in hand, for your other man to hang from a tree.’ Yes! All the components of a modern classic.” (Nb. This track’s release has since moved to January.)

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Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Home By Now’

“More brilliant, inventive, unexpected and inspired sampling here by Bombay. That will always be one of my favourite things about their records. This track feels so hopeful. I picture myself driving down a wide-open highway, heading for home to this track, and ‘Home By Now’ is a perfectly simple lyric to go with that image. And the flawless, crisp vocals of Lucy Rose are giving this track something extra special, too. It is, yet again, a very freeing sound created by the Bicycle Club boys.”

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Saint Raymond  ‘Fall At Your Feet’

“I managed to catch some of Saint Raymond’s set at this summer’s T in the Park, and wow does this guy draw a crowd. The heavy, tribal drum vibe of ‘Fall At Your Feet’ against a very delicate, reverb-drenched tambourine is something within this track that really grabbed my ear. As a song it’s not entirely my cup of tea, but my ears are open to whatever is released next.”

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Words: James Bay

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