Fantastic! Just saw their first US performance!
I say "their" because James Keen has taken his brother (amazing guitar player) and a slew of amazingly talented musicians and formed the band Magzine Gap (look up their website). James is a profound storyteller. His ability to tell a story with a song is stellar and his voice is inspiring. Elements of funk, folk and more. A guy who sounds like he's harmonizing with himself. You must see him and the band live if you can. Must. James is surrounded by talent on every side on this album and this artist (and his new band) promise to be a major force in music for a long time to come.
Excellent album that you can listen to over and over. Live? Even better! Chilling! Funky! Up on your feet, shout for joy, weep from beauty album.
Great artist, great album
I think it's just brilliant, in a number of ways. I can easily see the connections to Dave Matthews and James Blunt, but more. Think: if you took Amos Lee, teamed him up with the guy who did those great neo-soul arrangements for Jamiroquai and added a dash of John Mayer blues, that comes pretty close to your sound. Without being similar to him, I think what's cool about the music is what made Cat Stevens cool all those years ago: singer/songwriter vibe combined with eclectic influences and really interesting production.
The singing is overall excellent, in that he manages (like, I think, Van Morrison) to catch what's best in the soul tradition without attempting to be a "blacker" singer than he is. His voice is wonderfully expressive and emotive (not to mention on key!),The rhythm section is great. In these days of relentlessly pointless looped beats, some rhythmic complexity and inventiveness are really refreshing, esp a drummer who can work _with_ the song and the band, and not crush them. The production is also really wonderful: it manages to avoid too simple and too much, and is lush, without strings or horns overwhelming the words and melodies. I am a little surprised that there isn't some B-3 action in there somewhere -- just a little bit would suit Mr. Keen. The songs are well-structured, and the lyrics are meaningful and resonant.
I have to say: I won't soon forget driving to work on this sunny spring morning listening to Something to Be Said, a sweet little song -- just perfect, a great moment. It take guts and good taste to let a song just be over when it's over. Very nice.