Aaron James has come to us here at Divide and Conquer a second time with a brand spanking new EP and I have to say I am smitten. Caught in the Corner of a Half Moon is a five-track indie/folk delight that tickled several of my fancies. I haven’t heard anything quite like what James is putting on the table. He uses electronic elements, but more like a seasoning, it is by no means the meat of the meal.
He starts off with this very raw cut with the track “AJ” which features a romantic little guitar riff and James hitting the higher end of his range. The audio is intentionally full of feedback and fluctuations. You can almost picture a home video being recorded. It’s short, less than two minutes, and afterwards I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I was engaged. I could see some people being thrown off, but stick with him.
Next up was “The Wile” and this is where he hooked me. At this point the production sound is now professionally polished and his indie sound is established. The lyrics on this track are fantastic in that they come full circle. After that came “Dreaming” which pulled more to the folk side, but just before you get comfortable there, he pulls the awesome switch into a cool, bluesy tone complete with sweet bass line to finish it off. This was such a ballsy move, I loved it, and it worked without a single hitch.
The next two tracks slow down a bit and settle comfortably into the folk end of his spectrum. “Paper Ball” was pretty but a little sleepy for me; it lacked the element of unfamiliar that I had grown accustomed to with the other songs. He ended on a lovely note with “Ends Means” which is just beautiful lyrically and musically.
James definitely counts as a legitimate singer/songwriter. He tells these winding, eccentric little tales that are heavily introspective. He’s not afraid to get a little heated in his words, even then they’re always delivered beautifully. Combine his writing work with his well-rounded voice and you’ve got a winning combo. His voice is one I could pick out from a crowd. He has a very distinctive inflection. He also has a fairly diverse range that can really help determine the genre of his songs.
James had some great production support for this EP and they have earned their credit as their hands in this were almost invisible, which is how it should be. The mixing came from Andrew Crutcher and Patrick Moss and everything was mastered by Ed Brooks of Resonant Mastering. There were excellent audio choices made that put a nice shiny gloss on top of what James has going on.
Caught in the Corner of Half Moon really gives you a bang for your buck with five tracks. It hits the mark on both the indie and folk genres. Overall the vibe is truly unique; it doesn’t remind me of anything or anyone else. In this day and age that can be an enormous challenge with there being so much music out there.
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