It’s been a decade since Leed’s James Dey released an album, and, on this showing, a decade too long.
The Yorkshireman’s hiatus from recorded music has not diminished his ability to write hushed and angelic folk songs. Opener, ‘The Yawn’, is never more apt than right now as winter draws in. Blessed with the warmth of Stornoway’s debut album, this quaint number is the perfect avenue for you amble into this album.
This is a consistent album, often serving as good background noise or relaxing commuting content. However, every now and then, Dey produces genuine moments of magic, often around the simplest and intimate discourses.
‘Hedgehog’ is one of these instants. Dey’s vocals adopt a whispered gravel and traverses its way to enriching and rousing blast on the trumpet. On paper, this has the hallmarks of Billy Bragg and Sam Duckworth. However, an amusing tale of a mid-twenty something being locked out of his parents and a dead hedgehog, not so much.
Dey is adept at writing songs about the imperfect like ‘Smokers In The Corridor’ and ‘Andrika’. The former is a majestic piece of folk-pop. Only Tom Williams has rivalled this level of intimacy in recent times. The mood and tone brings Noah & The Whale to mind as Dey evokes memories of a seaside holiday.
All kids should grow up with holiday memories like this. On paper, they’re shit, but those vague memories of your elders free from everyday stresses breeds a warmth as you get older and kudos to Dey, he encapsulates this beautifully.
Meanwhile, ‘Andrika’, is a boat that doesn’t sale in the garden of his childhood. A glorious display of childhood imagination of what this boat once was and the battles it once endured. Fans of this song, should read Andrew Collins’ ‘Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal in the 70s’ now!
This is an album that you might be able to ignore because of under exposure, but, put it on and you will find it tough to put back down again.
You can and WILL download 'The Night Time' on James' bandcamp page here