James Bay: Chaos and the Calm | Album Review

Fri, Mar 20, 2015, 15:00


Chaos and the Calm

James Bay

Republic Records

Singer / Songwriter

You wouldn’t be blamed for buying into the hype around James Bay. The young Englishman has been touted as the Next Big Thing by the UK’s music press, recently picking up the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award. 

Like most Next Big Things, sadly, the reality is slightly more damning.

On Bay’s debut album, recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Jacquire King, strummed guitar, twinkling piano and rousing folk-pop tunes collide with lovelorn balladry and the pseudo-emotion peddled by songwriters who glean their stories from fiction rather than real life.

Bay is a hybrid of Ed Sheeran and James Morrison, with an extra helping of blandness and even less risks. It’s not bad, really – just terribly, unremittingly ordinary.