James Bay is a man that can apparently do it all. In 2015 he delivered the intimate and emotional debut album ‘Chaos And The Calm’ which showcased a vulnerable side to his blues-rock sound. For his sophomore record ‘Electric Light’ he turns up the volume and heads towards a pop injected indie-rock sound that will still have you feeling all the emotions. Album opener “Wasted On Each Other” is noticeably very different to his debut and introduces crunching guitar riffs and a seductive vocal delivery that oozes the sentiment “I know you miss me too, I know you do”. The album really packs a punch with the likes of ‘Pink Lemonade’, ‘Just For Tonight’, ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Sugar Drunk High’ giving you big hooks that you know will sound amazing in the midst of a festival set. But it’s the cool contrast that follows with the gospel influenced ‘Wild Love’ takes you straight to church and has you reminiscing about past and current loves. The reflective ‘Us’ and ‘I Found You’ follows on from this sound and breaks it down a little further to give you those emotional moments that you were waiting and praying for. “I found you. I can’t believe I get to know you”. It’s that raw vulnerability you were first introduced to on his debut and even though it may be sonically a little different the honest sentiment is still there. But it’s songs like ‘In My Head’ which are the most different and surprising because it hears him using synths, samples and different vocal layers to enhance the storylines about falling in love which could otherwise come across predictable. The whole album has you constantly surprised and captivated because there is so much versatility in not only his vocal delivery but also his production and songwriting. Towards the end of the album ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Slide’ become a little forgettable but with the rest of the album being so strong you don’t really end up caring. I always found James Bay a little vanilla and a little too predictable but this new album completely changes my opinion and introduces a bold, confident and energetic persona to his music. This album has been created to enhance his live show and it will definitely succeed at doing that.
You can purchase James Bay’s new album ‘Electric Light’ now from Sanity; https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2368221/Electric_Light