A little over a week ago James Vincent McMorrow changed his profile picture on social media and began drip feeding us new images, words and snippets of isolated vocal tracks. All very intriguing. The imminent release of a new album was alluded to. It was to be called True Care, to be released not even 9 months after his last album, We Move.
According to McMorrow, True Care is the best thing he has ever created. In a lengthy and searingly honest post on his website, McMorrow outlines the background to the album which is in itself worth a read. In the piece he expresses a desire to “make music, when it comes, to release it when it’s as fresh to me as it is to you”. But as we have seen in the past some hastily recorded follow-up records tend to do more bad than good for an artist’s reputation if the material isn’t there. Quality control levels can dip or be abandoned altogether. Artists can slip into a comfort zone, churning out discoloured, lacklustre facsimiles of the hits.
Opening with the double header of the future set ‘December 2914’ and the titular ‘True Care’, it is obvious that McMorrow is in a rich vein of creative form. This is further enforced by what follows with ‘Thank you’, ‘Constellations’ and ‘Bears’ and ‘Glad It’s Raining’ just some of the highlights on the album. The album ebbs and flows with stealthy ease, each song sounding fresh and new. Some of them continue right where We Move left off and some of them hark back to earlier work but are bolstered by this new found confidence in, and freedom with his own abilities. He thinks nothing of opening a song with an acapella verse, or using a choir of layered vocals or even Daft-Punk style vocoder.
His sense of adventure is palpable in the music. One could spend the whole conversation about this album quoting lyrics and pointing out great lines. McMorrow has reached new levels of lyricism here and he makes it all seem so effortless. He turns colloquial lines you would struggle to even imagine in a song into memorable melodies. He takes normal and surreal situations (witness ‘Bears’) and crafts songs around them.
At fifteen tracks long one would have to question the inclusion of two interludes which, while they sound lovely, don’t contribute much towards the album. Four albums into his career, he has created his own palette and earned the right to paint freely with it and we should rightly applaud his latest creation. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy that first wowed us with his acoustic guitar-led folk stylings way back in 2010 such is the progression and upward trajectory since then.
McMorrow will be touring throughout the summer and has indicated that he will play the whole album first and “the second half of the show will be wall to wall bangers”. His words not mine.