I had the chance to listen to Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow’s US debut album Early in the Morning for over a month now and have struggled admirably to put into words why I like it so damn much.
One thing that comes to mind is Theodore Roosevelt’s slogan, ‘Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick.’ McMorrow’s soft crooning falsetto vocals speaks softly, but these songs can be hugely powerful. Case in point, the single ‘If I Had a Boat,’ the song toils in the allegory of being lost at sea until found (finding love) the music climactically reaches a high point in exultation… a final release… it’s powerful and a common theme in McMorrow’s music and a trend in his vocals. These songs just really grab a hold of you.
Ultimately, McMorrow’s vocal instrument is the most distinct and special part of ‘Early in the Morning.’ His tenor voice and soulful falsettos appear on all of the best songs on the album. Stylistically this album isn’t genre defining, but it is made with care and craft and boasts a fantastic voice; its well worth a dozen listens.