James Vincent McMorrow – “Post Tropical” – Across The Ocean

James Vincent McMorrow – “Post Tropical”

Conceived a mere stone’s throw from the Mexican border, Post Tropical is the second album from Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow.


Given the location of it’s origin and the album’s title one could easily believe they are about to digest a warm vibrant record. Post Tropical however, is the antithesis of this.
More and more often these days the influence of Bon Iver is seeping through into a multititude of songwriters. McMorrow‘s song structures and ubiquitous falsetto fall into this category and instantly transport us into a cold desolate environment.

Opening track ‘Cavalier‘ draws us in with delicate piano, gradually gaining impetus via the subtle injection of handclaps, moving then into ‘The Lakes‘ as minimal beats and neatly applied steel guitar enter the mix.

Stirring build ups are a large part of what McMorrow is about. ‘Gold‘ and ‘Look Out‘ start gently before expanding impressively, the former with well utilised horns, the latter with some of the record’s heaviest drums as crashing cymbals drive the song home.

The icy aura is best summised in the aptly title ‘Glacier‘ (“I want to go south of the river, face it alone in the heart of winter”). At the back of the album ‘When I Leave‘ is a genuine suprise, morphing almost into danceable territory as McMorrow sings “the night belongs to us”

Post Tropical works best as an overall ambient soundscape as opposed to featuring standout songs. Whilst undeniably a talented artist, the music does suffer from a notable lack of variety as the relentless falsetto and unwavering tempo make it difficult to distinguish between tracks. As a result it may work best in unison with an accompanying winter landscape, allowing the music to gently seep in.

Gavin Stocker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Outside of Across The Ocean Gavin Stocker writes, records and performs music under the moniker of P Truck.

He can also be found clinging to his youth on a skateboard or wandering aimlessly through the bush.
Gavin Stocker