Album Review : James Baley ‘Roads’

Psychedelic, poppy, elevator music. I’ve never used that one before. The latest tracks from James Baley’s ‘Roads’ have got those three terms written all over them.
From the outset, we’re thrown into the song ‘Blue Angel’. A vintage inspired, artistic expression that takes you on a journey through many different eras. I get an 80s club vibe from it, mixed with a chill, poetic, R&B influence that is evident around the flow of the vocal track. This is probably my favourite of all of the songs on the album.

Although this may not be my usual listen, I do enjoy the artistic experimentation that has gone into creating these tracks. They’re well thought out, and each has its own vibe and evident influences that are very interesting and unique to the ear. For example, the song ‘Poison’ gives me chills, it’s an odd mix between the contemporary psychedelic scene containing bands such as Tame Impala, and the modern R&B/Pop scene that brings forward artists such as Rihanna. The synth and use of reverb pumped, ethereal vocals, takes me towards the psych style, whereas the lyrical flow and punchy, poppy drum track take me to the latter.

The artistic expression that I mention as being the soul of these songs is carried through into the music video for ‘Catcher.’ The song itself, given the ghostly vocals, bring forward aspects of the more contemporary work of the late David Bowie. This feeling is also present in the music video, a non-saturated, ethereal work of psychedelic experimentation that goes very well with the song and album as a whole.

From an outside perspective, as someone who isn’t usually into this style of music, I would recommend listening to ‘Poison’ and ‘Blue Angel,’ as I think that these are absolutely the best examples of what this kinda music is about, and I’d say that they were the tracks that I get the most out of.

Understanding the style comes with looking at the artist as an entity, and I think that the music video explains this in visual terms perfectly. The songs are by no means boring, not at all, each one has its very own sound to it that makes listening to the album a journey through a variety of different genres, styles and moods. The album is unique, as is the overall style of James Baley, and for that reason I’d recommend giving the tracks a listen to experience the art even if for nothing else.

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