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James Constable - Album Review: Interesting Times

20 Jul 2023 // A review by madeleinehoward
Otautahi indie singer-songwriter James Constable released his second album Interesting Times on the 16th of June.

This ten track album follows on from the 19 years old’s debut Tui, which I had the pleasure of reviewing when it was released in 2021. I was eager to see how James' follow up album compared to his debut.

Interesting Times is a collection of upbeat tunes, paired with darker, moodier tones. James stays true to his jangle pop roots, but there is a definite edge and strong Kiwi music influence to this collection of songs compared with Tui. His vocals have notably improved too, having grown in strength since 2021, with James showing off his range more so that he did on Tui. Looking back at my previous comments in my last review, I mentioned how it would be great to hear more of James' higher register, and that he’s at his best when he belts. While I still felt that Interesting Times could’ve had more of those moments, the album is still just as impressive as its predecessor.

Highlights of the album are, naturally, when James shows us what he can do vocally. Lead single and second track I Want To Save Someone has a triumphant end to it with James belting out the final notes in the outro. Asylum Kitty has hints of this too, as does album closer You’ve Flown Too Close To The Sun, which is the perfect conclusion to the album. Camera features a catchy guitar riff and use of an EBow, as well as melodic repetition that ensures the track stays with you long after the first listen. Other standouts include uplifting album opener Our Song and the darker Keep An Eye On Cadence, which features a beautiful string instrumental.

Overall, it’s great to see how James has grown as an artist in the last couple of years. While still young, James has a long career in music in front of him. I do hope he continues to lean into his higher register, as his voice really shines when he showcases it. I look forward to hearing many more albums from James.

 

About James Constable

James Constable is an indie singer/songwriter from New Zealand. He is that introverted nerd in the back of the room, who, by blending the music of old with the mindset of today, hopes to create songs that help give people a sense of place in the world.

James has made a bit of a splash in the local music scene over the past year and a half, having gone from playing small open mics, to playing large events such as the North Canterbury Wine And Food Festival, alongside the likes of Anika Moa. His EP Sunshine Over Britain, has gained upwards of 500 streams on Spotify, and it’s lead single Out From Under Water received almost 1000 views on YouTube alone, and many more on Facebook and Spotify. He has also received music awards on the national stage, being selected as the winner of the Hookline and Singalong songwriting competition (run by the New Zealand Music Commission) in 2018, as well as being a finalist in the Lions Songwriting Competition the year before.

James’ music is influenced by a variety of artists, ranging from the clean 60's pop of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds, to the grittier, but just as jangly 80's and 90's alternative rock scene, including The Chills, REM, The Mutton Birds, and, most of all, the Smiths. By walking a fine line between old-time nostalgia and modern pop sensibility, he is sure to bring something to the table for everyone to enjoy.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for James Constable

Releases

Interesting Times
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Tui
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Sunshine Over Britain
Year: 2019
Type: EP
The World Is Not Enough
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Danielle's Giraffe
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Someone's Out There
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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