A departure from the folksy five part falsetto harmonies of 2010’s Early in the Morning, James Vincent McMorrow’s Post Tropical takes on a new direction––nay, a new genre––and does more than a 180. It spins around, executes a couple wheelies, drives through a loop of fire, and leaves skid marks on the blacktop that spell out “not folkin’ around”.
Transitioning flawlessly from the banjoes and slide guitars of folk music to the organs and brass of alternative R&B, McMorrow tackles this new genre in his first track off Post Tropical, “Cavalier”. With the guidance of the synths, McMorrow opens the song with his slightly growly, definitely gritty soft spoken vocals and shifts to a multilayered chorus with bass, angelically high backing vocals, and unhurried––but ironically still in time––clapping.
Cavalier’s 4 minutes and 43 seconds crescendoes into an unconcerned vinegar and baking soda eruption, rather than an insistent Mentos and Coke explosion. True to its name, “Cavalier” doesn’t concern itself with an in-your-face thudding beat but rather opts for a subversively cool pulse that grabs your attention.
The neo-folk to neo-soul Irish singer-songwriter has been quiet for a while, but if you find yourself in San Francisco tomorrow, he’ll be playing at the Noise Pop festival at 4pm. If not, you can catch him in the Netherlands come June. He might have mastered another genre by then.