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James McCartney - Complete EP Collection

  by Lisa Torem

published: 26 / 6 / 2012

James McCartney - Complete EP Collection
Label: Engine Company Records
Format: CD


Impressive compilation of his two EPs to date from Paul McCartney’s son, James

James McCartney’s recent North American tour and his performances in the UK have given him many opportunities to play releases from ‘The Complete EP Collection’, his impressive, physical recording which contains cuts from his EPs: ‘Available Light’ and ‘Close At Hand’, plus bonus tracks. The project was co-produced by David Kahne and Paul McCartney, who worked jointly on several of the former Beatles’ previous albums. That said, their cool collaborative skill set worked exceedingly well for this new project, which was recorded in several phases in both London and New York. In a nutshell, the team listened and listened well to James’s ideas, made suggestions and then pretty much stayed out of the way. Members of the Dead 60s, bassist Charlie Turner and Bryan Johnson, on drums, form an airtight rhythm section. Steve Bayley, from the Open, doubled on guitar and keys. What is so refreshing about the album is the curious blend of genres and the raw emotion that surges through so many of the compositions. There is the outright cynicism of ‘Denial’, the manic determination of ‘I Only Want To Be Alone’, the power pop tenacity of ‘Angel’, the unmerciful beat of ‘New York Times’, the down home balladry of ‘My Friend’, the solemn tenderness of ‘Wings of a Lighter Weight’ and the cavalier asymmetry of ‘Else and Else But Dead.’ McCartney, a multi-instrumentalist, who played his first riff at nine, has also come up with some extraordinary hooks. The haunting, baroque keyboard arrangement and unexpected modulation that precedes the introductory verse in ‘Fallen Angel’ is truly unforgettable, and the song’s underlying message of savouring a solid friendship, is also well expressed and supported by subtle vocal tones. ‘The Sound of My Voice’ which has a mystical, somewhat existential vibe is heightened by sparse lyrics and sweltering guitar. Like many of McCartney’s songs, this one cannot be easily categorized. The one cover, Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’, allows McCartney to demonstrate his finesse on acoustic guitar, and though his instrumental version is similar to the original, he interprets those familiar vocals dreamily - to an almost hypnotic level. James McCartney is really on to something.

Track Listing:-
1 Angel
2 Glisten
3 My Friend
4 Denial
5 Old Man
6 New York Times
7 I Love You Dad
8 Moonsta
9 I Only Want To Be Alone
10 Wings Of A Lightest Weight
11 The Sound Of My Voice
12 Else And Else But Dead
13 Jesus Be My Friend
14 Fallen Angel
15 Spirit Guides
16 Your True Love

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Lisa Torem catches up with British singer/songwriter James McCartney during his second US tour in which he is promoting his second studio album 'The Blackberry Train'

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