On March 23rd 2015, Brits Critics Choice winner and BBC Sound of 2015 nominee, James Bay, will release his hugely anticipated debut album, 'Chaos And The Calm'. Recorded in Nashville at Blackbird Studios, by Kings Of Leon producer and Grammy award winner Jacquire King, the album chronicles the journey James has been on over the last year and all the changes and adjustment that has required. Intensely personal, yet also impressively worldly, its twelve tracks all demonstrate James's undeniable and innate ability to balance lyrics tackling deeply personal subject matter with unforgettable melody.
The album opens with 'Craving' a bold and impassioned introduction to his debut in which the singer tackles outgrowing a place where "everyone's life is the same as yesterday." The impulse is revisited later in the Springsteen-like 'Get Out While You Can', "I really strongly felt like I belonged somewhere else," he says, "so that song is directly about needing to get away."
The ordeals of breaking ties with loved ones and the distance being put between them form the poignant core of the album. "If this is all we're living for / Why are we doing it anymore?" he asks in the sparse, haunting beauty of 'Let It Go', the song that kicked it all off for James when he performed in Radio 1's Live Lounge earlier this year.
'When We Were On Fire', with its compelling strut of a beat, finds James in impassioned form, admitting he's "drifting apart, getting harder to hold you" reflecting in the forceful chorus, "Take me back to where it was before / When we were on fire." He's at his most tender on standout track 'Scars', which will surely strike a chord with anyone who hears it, with his heartfelt, characterful and unforgettable vocal delivery.
You can hear traces of those early open mic nights in the warm acoustics of 'Move Together' and 'Need The Sun To Break' but at the other end there's debut single and lead single off James's chart topping EP 'Hold Back The River' which starts with a subtle guitar line and builds into a pounding, fervent chorus with gospel flourishes. Then there's 'Collide' a scathing rebuttal with raging guitars; pointed and argumentative, it's a song born out of frustration.
The honesty of the album is reinforced by the unfeigned expressions of an artist considering his options. The variety of musical influences evident on his debut was a deliberate attempt to prevent any stylistic barriers and enable him to explore the musical freedom he cherishes.
Hold Back The River
Let It Go
If You Ever Want To Be In Love
Best Fake Smile
When We Were On Fire
Get Out While You Can
Need The Sun To Break