I was surprised to read that the recent release Movement: 1 by Kristopher James was a complete DIY effort. He recorded it in a home studio and most of the time that means consumer gear, shoddy mic techniques and thin or muddy mixes. James might be an engineer because the four songs on Movement: 1 sound stellar. The acoustic guitars sound warm and rich while his vocals are clear, thick and sit perfectly in the mix. Musically, James makes acoustic based melancholy pop on Movement: 1. The songs here might make you shed a tear. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It’s not that often that you encounter songs with this type of emotional weight.
The EP gets off to a solid start with “Runaways,” which despite some melancholy also has tinges of hope. James covers his music in a copious amount of reverb but it sounds perfect for the mood and emotion behind it. HIs lyrics are heartbreaking and have a ubiquitous appeal to almost anyone. He sings, “ Baby it's not like it once was ... have we both given up. We're Runaways, running from love We're Runaways, love just isn't enough.”
“Where Is Your Sting” revolves around his acoustic guitar and haunting vocals. James questions mortality and faces the existential dilemma of what happens after death. He sings, “But I can't see past this day that I'm living ... and I'm not really ready to go home. Oh, Death where is your sting? I'll be ready, my friend, in the end. So have a drink until then.”
“Ships & Branches” revitalizes the vibe with energy and optimism. James’ lyrics are a bit more poetic this time around and he is confident singing them. He closes with “My Heart Wasn’t Ready,” which is the ultimate tearjerker. James also delivers his most visceral vocal performance straining his voice to hit notes he can barely reach.
Movement: 1 has some well-written songs that while probably aren't songs you will spin everyday are perfect if you are in a certain type of mood. Good stuff here from a good songwriter.
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