Leo James studies Music in York, England. This training has helped him produce an album with depth that is not often seen in young musicians. The raspy, soulful vocals, poetic lyrics and accompanying band make the I Only Pray When I’m Desperate (tasters) remarkably good.
The I Only Pray When I’m Desperate (tasters) album fuses many genres that seem incompatible. For example, the song “Reddyblue Eyes” blends folk and jazz sounds. Along with its complex musical tone, I Only Pray When I’m Desperate (tasters) tackles gut-wrenching issues with its lyrics, including the subjects of religion and broken relationships. Leo James and his band enter this album with reckless abandonment, and they reap the rewards for it.
The opening song, “Reddyblue Eyes,” lyrically captures the struggle of most relationships. Metaphorically, red and blue represent contrasting emotions that are often associated with those colors. Red represents passion, love and anger. Blue shows sadness and indifference. “Reddyblue Eyes” uses lyrical complexity to convey the song’s message. However, it keeps the instruments of saxophone and guitar simple.
On the other hand, “Little Bo Peep” keeps the lyrics minimal, but the instruments very intricate. The song is reminiscent of a 1920s dance club tune. The lyrics repeat themselves, but they match nicely with the speed of the instruments. On the track “I Only Pray When I’m Desperate,” James gives his best vocals. The acoustic nature of the song almost makes it like a lullaby. This creates a meditative discussion on belief, god and religion.
I Only Pray When I’m Desperate (tasters) has a clear focus, but often lets the instruments outshine the vocals. However, to contrast those songs where the instruments are too loud to hear the vocals, there are very simple songs. These songs really let Leo James’s strong singing abilities shine. If this is only a sample of what he can do, we cannot wait to hear more from him.
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