The concept of recording a series of songs during a tight time frame is nothing new. DJ Food recorded a song a day for their early ‘Jazz Breaks’ albums, Osymyso attempted to record a song a week for his ‘05ymy50’ project... he only managed 15 but that still isn’t to be sniffed at.
Jeremy Warmsley, meanwhile, set himself a more achievable timeframe: a song a month.
There is a loose story of love, loss and redemption that runs through ‘A Year’. ‘January’ opens with the sound of someone walking through snow which morphs into a drum pattern, while a reflective piano swirls around us. The unnamed narrator leaves his hometown. By ‘June’ they have embarked on a new relationship, but by forlorn ‘December’ it’s all gone wrong and they are back home again. The album ends with Auld Lang Syne before looping back into ‘January’.
As usual Warmsley fills the songs with rich productions that feature intricate guitar work, ambient flourishes, jazzy motifs and a deep pop sensibility that is hard to ignore. This could be his strongest album to date, including his solo work, while rivalling even Summer Camp's output.
‘A Year’ is an ambitious album that largely lives up to its promise. It is filled with delightful melodies with melancholic tinges throughout. It reminds us that when things are at their bleakest a ray of light, and warmth, may just be around the corner.
However, at the same time it tells us to make the most of our good times as they could end just as suddenly as they start. Whether Jeremy Warmsley attempts another similar project will remain to be seen, but ‘A Year’ is a resounding success that works perfectly well as a series of 12 individual songs, but is just as rewarding as a larger body of work.
Ultimately, 'A Year' is an album that demands repeat listens to learn its deep secrets.
Words: Nick Roseblade
- - -
- - -
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.