Album Review: "Chaos And The Calm" by James Bay

Hey guys!

I apologise if you've read all reviews I wrote this year.
In pretty much all of them I told you how excited I am about all the releases I've heard in 2015.
And well, today is not going to be any different - I'm still blown away by the amount of fantastic releases 2015 has brought up so far and it's only May. 

Today I'd like to share my opinions on a rather popular album with you, "Chaos And The Calm" by James Bay.

Artist: James Bay
Title: Chaos And The Calm
Genre: Folk, Pop-Rock
Label: Republic Records // Universal Music
Release: 23rd March 2015
HITS rating: 9/10

James Bay is a singer/songwriter from Hitchin, UK.
The young musician has managed to get himself a name by playing in bands and on his own for many years.
As the support act for Tom Odell, Kodaline and John Newman, James managed to catch the attention of label Republic Records which signed him in 2012.
Things then started to blow up and James soon found himself playing at Glastonbury, supporting Taylor Swift and The Rolling Stones and he also won Critics' Choice at the BRIT Awards.

So far James Bay released three EPs:
Dark Of The Morning (2013)
Let It Go (2014)
Hold Back The River (2014)

And just last month we finally got to hear his debut album "Chaos And The Calm", now let's talk about it.

1) Craving
2) Hold Back The River
3) Let It Go
4) If You Ever Want To Be In Love
5) Best Fake Smile
6) When We Were On Fire
7) Move Together
8) Scars
9) Collide
10) Get Out While You Can
11) Need The Sun To Break
12) Incomplete

Opener "Craving" ties in the main genre elements James Bay represents; folk mixed with bits of pop and rock.
As well as the genres, it also gives you an idea of the James Bay signature sound - clever lead guitar riffs, subtle basslines and a colourful percussion section.

The first single of the record, "Hold Back The River" is also James' most popular song.
It starts off as a calm acoustic track with soft finger-picked guitar work and vulnerable vocals. The song builds up in intensity during each of the choruses and finishes off with a grand finale of strong and expressive vocals, supportive backing vocals, a vivid rhymth section and Bay's fantastic guitar playing.

Who knew the singer/songwriter would also mix some souly elements into his sound?
On "If You Ever Want To Be In Love" Bay showcases his impressive vocal range, from soft and calm to higher notes to slightly raspy timbres.
His songs tell stories of love and heartbreak yet he manages to wrap the thoughtful, emotional lyrics in a blanket of ingenious musical arragements.

The calm and slow songs may outnumber the upbeat tracks but that doesn't mean the upbeat ones disappoint.
"Best Fake Smile" and "Collide" show that Mr Bay has more to offer than the average singer/songwriter.

To sum it up: We've got a genius here, people. You might not realise it after your first run through the album, but the closer you listen, the more you'll come to realise what clever songwriter James Bay is.

You should listen to these tracks: If You Ever Want To Be In Love, Best Fake Smile, Scars

James Bay online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube

Thank you for reading!

Credits // Text: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image: James Bay press kit


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