James Dey

James Dey – Spring EP

Following on from his superb debut album 'The Night Time', Leeds based James Dey is back with the first of four new EP's. All centered around the four seasons, Dey begins, unsurprisingly with spring.

They say timing is everything in music. So, how apt that, last week, Dey released his 'Spring EP' as spring sprung. Dey has tapped into the most beatific moments of Badly Drawn Boy's career on 'Ebb and Flow' and the instant classic 'Faintly But Surely'. The former, eloquently portraying the gentle awakening of life and the breeding of hope. A week on from watching a million people march on Westminster, it couldn't feel more appropriate.

Meanwhile, 'Faintly But Surely', delivers Spring's message of hope with a directness that's undeniable. As Dey infectiously sings 'change is coming', it's hard to not to get lost in the mire of current affairs. Nevertheless, his ability to keep everything light, allows a brightness to grasp your attention more than anything else.

On the EP closer 'The First Swifts', Dey taps into the vocal prowess of Simon Fowler in his Merymouth days and the work of Ian Matthews in Plainsong. There is an earnest and everyday reality filtering through the feather light folk music. Never resting on his melodic laurels, Dey has channelled Turin Breaks with a delightfully awkward and catchy riff.

Dey tempers the hope that Spring brings with the almost downtrodden drudgery of everyday life in 'The 7:42am'. The monotony of a commute, familiar to millions, can be lifted by the spring weather, but alas, we all feel we're missing out going off to make someone else money. The way in which Dey captures the essence of watching the world go by on the train brings Noah & The Whale's brief but illustrious career to mind.

When Badly Drawn Boy's debut 'Hour of the Bewilderbeast', it rightly changed the music landscape we lived in. Evocative, emotive and challenging, it reimagined what alternative pop music could be. James Dey's 'Spring EP' is a great homage to that legacy. In true Spring fashion, has us eager for Dey's future releases.

*Image courtesy of Mike Turner

James Dey - The Night Time

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