James Vincent McMorrow
City Halls, Glasgow
Star rating: * * *
The Scottish singer-songwriter has returned from Paris with a touch of Parisienne chanteuse about her, and she delivered a brace of bitter-sweet love songs, crowned by a beautifully fragile cover of Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You.
When McMorrow took the stage, the volume cranked up. If his first, largely acoustic, album had him placed in “indie-folk”, his second, Post-Tropical, blasts that apart with a much bigger, electronic sound and howling, harmonising vocals.
McMorrow’s high tenor voice has range without sacrificing power. His songs speak of big, dramatic landscapes, performed on a set of light-filled pyramids with accompanying light show. On songs like Down the Burning Ropes and Glacier he begins softly and builds into a crash of sound.
Given the fact that he did five songs before he even said hello, one might wonder if the man isn’t taking himself a little too seriously, but when he did speak, he punctured this with self-deprecating humour. At its best, his new work is beautiful, brutal, surprising. The danger is that after an hour of it, it loses the element of surprise, and with that, a little of its power.
Seen on 28.01.14