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AAA Music | 14 August 2022

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James Vincent McMorrow announces debut EP / free download of ‘If I Had A Boat

| On 29, Oct 2010

Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow will release his self-titled debut EP on 22 November, via Believe Digital in the UK and the influential Vagrant Records in the US (The Hold Steady, Edward Sharpe, School of Seven Bells). Comprising of two album tracks and two unearthed demos, this introductory EP will precede a record due to be released early next year. On the back of extensive touring in America and number 1 success in his native Ireland, James will announce details of further UK shows shortly: in the mean time, the EP’s lead track – the stirring ‘If I Had A Boat’ – is available now as a free download.
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James Vincent McMorrow’s musical life began far removed from the haunting folk and mythic imagery of his debut output. Rather, his early love was hardcore rock, and he spent his teens learning to play drums to the likes of Refused, At The Drive In and Glassjaw. James’ tastes soon broadened to envelop the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and though he remembers an Irish upbringing where late-night singalongs were the norm, it wasn’t until he heard Donny Hathaway’s ‘I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know’ that he even considered singing.

McMorrow then set about understanding how to write and record his own songs. Fascinated by the hip hop production of acts such as The Neptunes and Timbaland, James spent three years experimenting with sounds and learning how to make music. Only then did he take this newfound knowledge into an isolated house by the Irish Sea, intent on making a record. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn with Bon Iver and his cabin, or the vocal purity of Antony Hegarty, but you are far more likely to find inspiration rooted in the likes of John Steinbeck, F Scott Fitzgerald or Roald Dahl: writers who examined, in McMorrow’s words, “the darker, less spoken about aspects of life, solitude and disillusionment. The characters I create in those songs, the ones existing in the shadows…they’re all elements of me, for sure.”

‘James Vincent McMorrow’, then, is an atmospheric and beautifully crafted debut EP. Throughout, McMorrow marries his Irish upbringing with these traditionally more American, West-Coast sounds. ‘If I Had A Boat’ is an eerie yet oddly emotive introduction, spearheaded by McMorrow’s sweet, soulful voice (and it began life as just a title – the song came later). ‘This Old Dark Machine’, too, feels like the kind of track that could only be written in the wilderness: it is intricately played, and gorgeously sung, with a brooding intensity that seeps into two sparse early recordings (‘From The Woods’, ‘Like The River’).

Having reached number 1 and received rave reviews back in Ireland, James has gone on to play extensive dates across America. All of this is about as far away from the house by the Irish Sea as is humanly possible, but the beautiful sounds and songs that came from that place remain the same, and should reach an even broader audience into 2011.