JAMES WARREN – Innocent Bystander

Angel Air 2017

JAMES WARREN - Innocent Bystander

Innocent Bystander

Seeking no refuge from passion, one of the finest pop purveyors is struck through the heart… again.

What can an artist do once the lummy days of STACKRIDGE are over and the fabric of THE KORGIS had been drawn and quartered? Sing his soul as a solo performer, of course. That’s why, more than a decade after “Jim’s Easy Listening Album” saw the light of day, James Warren follows it up with this record, linking the two with a reprise of “You’ve Got The Love That Matters” – and the choice of such a bridge is quite telling. At 65, everyone’s allowed to be overtly sentimental, yet he found a way to make it all alluring by injecting humor in most of the songs here.

As usual, Warren’s melodies remind us that he knows something about THE BEATLES, but this time James is channeling the silky end of Motown and Stax spectrum, “Everybody Needs Somebody” effectively updating a Solomon Burke classic and a few other pieces harking back to the era of pop innocence. There are cobweb-light lullaby “I Just Want You To Tell Me” and raga-spiced psychedelic ditty “Colours” to show the outer reaches of the veteran’s talent are still at hand, although his eternally youthful voice is at its most gripping in the highly infectious “That’s What You Do To Me” – when it’s set against a heavier rumble and an organ-bolstered riff.

Subtle twists and turns aplenty, Warren plays mind, and heart, games with the listener. He renders “Set Me Free” transparent and romantic… until it’s turned inside out with the “one for the money, two for the show” line to trade a maudlin violin for a well-orchestrated carousel of elegant rock moves and the caress of slide guitar. Elsewhere, “That’s How I’m Loving You” is cut from the same delicately fascinating fiber as “All The Love In The World” demonstrated, and this is, perhaps, the only thing which could be expected from James. He may claim he’s an innocent bystander, but he’s complicit in the crime of love.


January 16, 2018

Category(s): Reviews
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