I’ll just come right out and say it now: the Bon Iver comparisons are kind of inevitable with James Vincent McMorrow. Some have already dubbed him Dublin’s answer to the wispy-voiced Justin Vernon.
From the opening notes of “If I Had A Boat,” the familiar sounds are there. And I’m not going to lie…Justin Vernon was the first thing that came to my mind. Regardless, it is a beautiful track that had me right from the beginning.
Yes, if you were to simply judge McMorrow based on this song and nothing more, the echos of Justin Vernon are quite evident–glaring even. But if you were to delve further and really listen to his music–like his recently released debut, Early In the Morning–you’d find that he is a different artist with a little bit more of a folk lean.
Sure, they both have impossibly luscious and husky voices and have a penchant for layers of falsetto harmonies–but the similarities pretty much end there. His voice is also reminiscent of James Morrison’s at times (“We Don’t Eat”), if we were to be so keen on comparisons.
[MP3]: James Vincent McMorrow – “We Don’t Eat” (right-click, save as)
After going through a bit more of his catalogue, I find the main difference between the two artists to be in the instrumentation. Both sing from emotional depths, but Bon Iver creates more sparse, yet sweeping, atmospheric experiences, while McMorrow relies more on the devices of the singer-songwriter.
Still, if you like Bon Iver, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll dig James Vincent McMorrow.