Album: Nameless EP
Label: Self Released
In an EP ranking of 2104 the “Nameless” EP of James Frost would surely be among my first three choices. It’s such a beautiful collection of songs, with diverse instrumentations and a deep-rooted confidence in their performance.
James Frost’s songs sound like classics to be. The opener “Nameless” has been picked by BBC 6 (Fresh Faves) and has also been called one of the most beautiful songs ever, yes, indeed, there is something about this song that is hard to describe. It’s based on a simple and wonderful finger picked chord progression on acoustic guitar. Yet this song radiates some sort of accessibility to wisdom and inner strength, also an open mindedness that makes you think its creator must be great talking to. Well, this is of course just the imagination of an enthused listener. Enthused about so much quality, authenticity, vulnerability. No self-conscious ego seems to restrict the vocals or the arrangements to any conventions – every track is in itself a little piece of art.
The hymn-like “Pride” starts with some romantic e-piano chords with lots of reverb, a double bass sets in, then some drumming and to make it all complete we get some synth choir in the background. It almost gets near a pop ballad but then the lead vocals get distorted and we are reminded that this song is nowhere near a self-regarding tale, but the opposite – a forthright confession about one’s own defaults. Like said before, conventions don’t count for James Frost; he just chooses what he thinks will sound good and it sounds great.
The EP’s final track, “Rolling Thunder” couldn’t be of any greater contrast to “Pride”, it’s quite a rough, upbeat and powerful track with both male and female backing vocals. And it doesn’t stick to conventions either: Whereas the chorus is engaging and easy to follow, the verses work with dissonant chords which are dissolved whenever the chorus sets in. A slightly distorted electric guitar and the sound of chimes help creating this really special, musical extravaganza. All there is to wish for is more of James Frost’s music and hopefully a full-length album sometime soon.