Artist To Check Out: James Bishop - 'Tailspin' (Single) / ‘Bad Dream’ EP

I’ll start with a confession. One of my personal conundrums, being relatively new to this reviewing lark, is whether to stick or twist. Stick to what I know, and scribe reasonably confidently about riffs, dynamics, atmospherics, etc… or twist with a genre I’m less familiar with. The wide range of music submitted to WTH Blows provides the opportunity for the latter, and one of the reasons why I enjoy contributing. However, this in turn throws up its own challenges when considering music outside the familiar. Nevertheless, aided with some wine, I’m introduced to the acoustic folk of James Bishop via four-track EP ‘Bad Dreams’.

Focusing initially on last track ‘Tailspin’, this acoustic ballad of sorts eases in with a lovely melody and pleasant acoustic picking. Building on some layered vocals and lead work, the track glides along before an admittedly-glorious chorus lifts the listener, adding a sheen to the low-fi undertones. “Not everything is clear” croons James, as the songs breezes along rather delightfully.

Drawn in, the rest of the EP certainly merits further comment. Expectations of shimmering alt-pop are exceeded with the more varied and intriguing offerings of the preceding tracks. ‘Another Day’ introduces the EP with a stop-start verse before the track leaps into life with a chorus that builds and builds to a fantastic conclusion. ‘Butch’ brims with ideas, melting strange, atmospheric passages with indie quirkiness, while ‘Johnson’s Peak’ provides a grittier stomp of Americana, setting its stall out with a series of rolling riffs before locking down an understated groove.

So, while 'Tailspin’ is perhaps the most instant track of the EP, as a whole it’s a cleverly varied and really enjoyable listen. Repeated plays continue to surprise, acting as a reminder for this reviewer of the musical rewards that can present when stepping outside a comfort zone. Bad Dreams is released on 25th March 2016 on Broken Circles. Certainly worth your time.

Words of DS_convertible