Album Review: James McArthur – Burnt Moth

James McArthur has been treading the boards on the folk circuit for a number of years now and has worked diligently the whole time to produce a steady stream of music in a cycle like the seasons. After his last release close to two years ago it is clear that he has spent his time carefully crafting his latest offering – the stunning Burnt Moth.

Burnt Moth has turned into an album that can almost be described like a good wine – it’s rich, warming and evocative of deep autumnal notes. Soothing, soft and sweet it’s the closest an album can get to giving you a hug.

McArthur himself is an incredibly talented musician with a finely tuned ear and an enviable ability to carefully craft and construct some of the most stunning songs but in a wonderfully minimalistic way. Opting primarily for the gently plucked strings of an acoustic guitar his songs are also gently peppered with soft fiddle tunes that are both tender and uplifting; Sombre yet playful piano tunes can be found floating through his songs like leaves down a stream. His music is deeply evocative, rife with a natural beauty that summons memories of childhoods gone by, when the summer was coming to a close and the sun was barely slipping its way beyond the horizon, flooding the world in a deep, golden light.

Overlaying this mesmerising set of compositions is of course his strong and unique vocal styling’s which drift above his music like clouds. Tender, emotional and slightly gravelled, his voice is packed deep with emotion which carries throughout the album, making you feel somewhat closer to his every word. While he surrounds himself with the uplifting scores, it is his voice that is always at the forefront of your attention. The warmth in his voice is somewhat akin to the likes of Elliot Smith at times and he masterfully melds it with his understated tunes to create a truly astounding collection of songs.

McArthur has a soft and delicate style with a charmingly understated element to it. His carefully crafted songs are totally enchanting and if you close your eyes, you feel like you’re laying in a sun dappled meadow and at any moment you can open your eyes just in time to watch the first leaves falling.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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