Review #62: James Bay – Chaos and the Calm

Artist – James Bay
Album – Chaos and the Calm (2015)

Check it out –

James Bay is an acoustic singer-songwriter from Hertfordshire, UK. Bay began studying music at Brighton Institute of Modern Music. After he had fine tuned his craft James wrote three E.Ps, ‘The Dark of the Morning’, Let It Go’ and ‘Hold Back the River’. ‘Let It Go’ did exceptionally well, possibly due to timing, being released in 2014 the same time as a certain Disney movie. James gained a number of accolades, notably the runner up in BBCs Sound of 2015 and the Brit Awards ‘Critics Choice’ Award. James Bay now releases his debut LP ‘Chaos and the Calm’.

James Bay as a songwriter with an appreciation for all music has come along and written a very musically diverse album. One second we have the piano ballad sound of Tom Odell, the next we get a bouncing pop track with vocals similar to Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and then we get straight up indie rock songs. Rather than a car crash of genres, this diversity keeps the listener interested, plus there is a general vocal tone and structure that is unique to Bay which moulds these songs as one. Instrumentation is pretty simple, acoustic/electric guitars, vocals, bass, drums, piano and organ, however at times more eclectic instruments are added to the mix, such as a steel pedal guitar. A couple songs that stood out to me were, as mentioned previously, the Tom Odell sounding ‘If You Ever Want To Be In Love’ and the exceptionally popular ‘Hold Back The River’, I think that solo guitar parts in the intro and outro are beautiful sounding.

‘Chaos and the Calm’ isn’t a massively innovative album and is almost exactly what i expected from another singer songwriter type hitting the masses. However, I do think its a little more diverse in genre and tone than you would initially expect, and is certainly worth a listen.


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