Monday, September 7, 2009

ALBUM: Build Me This by Joshua James

Sorry about the long silence. Sadly I don't have any good news to report, and school's actually been crazy enough to keep me from really trying to figure out how to get us back up and running. I can't say when we'll be back on a good schedule. Hopefully soon.

You might already know that Joshua James is one of our favorite artists around here, and his second album, Build Me This, is touching down in a matter of days. It's been a long time coming for us (who've been hearing these songs for more than 2 years), but it's close on the heels of his first record for any who've only heard it since it's national release last year. Either way, this record will probably impress any of Joshua's fans, and hopefully win him a few more.

I love James's first record, The Sun is Always Brighter, and if this blog had existed in 2007 it would have been high on our Best Albums list - but as beautiful as it is, I've always had an issue with it. You see, that record doesn't really sound like Joshua James. I mean, that's his voice and those are his songs, and that music is very very good, but live, there's an edginess and a soulfulness to James's music that somehow didn't make it onto that record. Essentially, Joshua James can rock, but the only evidence of it on Sun is the relative low-point "Our Brother's Blood" tucked back near the end of the record.

It isn't long into Build Me This that it becomes clear that this won't be an issue on this record. The first track, "Coal War", opens with foot stomps and hand claps as the only accompaniment to James singing "Ain't cuttin' my hair 'til the good Lord comes", building tension right up to the two minute mark, when the amps light up and a distorted guitar snarls through the gospel-rooted harmonies, pushing past all of the reservations James might have had on LP1. Needless to say, James shows a lot more muscle this time around.

The momentum stays high through the second track, "Magazine", then takes a breather on "Weeds" before barreling into more full-throttle rockers "Mother Mary" and "Black July". Throughout Joshua explores themes of hatred, faith, war and death; and even the record's lightest moments (i.e. "In The Middle" - a love song from a lover who's passed away) are anything but light-hearted. There isn't a bad song in the mix, though little matches the urgency of "Coal War" until a trifecta of near-perfect songs toward the end - "Daniel", a heart-wrenching tale of boys in wartime, "Pitchfork", a dreamlike ballad with a breathtakingly beautiful coda, and the live staple "Wilted Daisies", a frustrated plea from capitalism's defeated. These three songs alone would be reason enough to buy the album.

All in all, this is a fantastic sophomore achievement from an extremely talented songwriter. It's out digitally and on vinyl Tuesday, Sept. 8th, and on CD on Sept. 22nd (buy it all HERE). I don't have a song for you because, once again, we have no server - but here's a video of Joshua doing his thing, as well as a link to his myspace to take a listen. Enjoy!

Listen at Joshua James's myspace.

4 comments:

Joe said...

Good post, good post. You guys have a way with words when it comes to music. You could convince me to go out and buy an Eve 6 cd.

rickardholmgren said...

Already pre-ordered this one. really looking forward to it. from what i've heard on his myspace this will be another great album from Joshua. Now all he has to do is come to sweden and play! :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome album, just got it acouple days ago and haven't been able to put it down since. You will find yourself stuck on "Coal War," because it is just so damn catchy and beautiful, but after give the rest of the cd a listen you will find that they are ust as amazing. He e xpresses quite a variety of ranges on this album, a much morerocking side than "The Sun Is Always Brighter," but it feels more mature and still flows nicely, if not better. Great artist, needs more publicity!

Viagra Online said...

It is a great album, the song "Coal War" is just an awesome song, I sometimes listened even 10 times in a row when Im at work with my headphones, it is a superb album.