Album Review: James Bay – Chaos And The Calm

Chaos and the Calm

2.5

Recipient of this years’ Critic’s Choice Award at the BRITS 2015, James Bay’s highly anticipated debut album Chaos And The Calm is a cheery, pleasant record, filled with catchy tunes and snappy hooks.

After the phenomenal success of  the undeniably charming single Hold Back The River, music fans nationwide have been eagerly waiting to discover whether the singer-songwriter will be a one hit wonder, or truly worthy of his new position as Radio 1’s wonder boy. Frankly, the jury is still out.

Every track on the album is enjoyable, well polished and radio friendly. While it is no mean feat to create such a seemingly well produced album – its impeccable nature is almost its downfall. While the music is agreeable, it feels a little formulaic, contrived perhaps. Chaos And The Calm lacks any chaos. It is missing  raw, exciting energy; feeling less like a singer-songwriter’s passionate first album than a record company’s wet dream.

James Bay is clearly a talented fella, his husky voice is lovely and his songs will be such crowd pleasers over the Summer circuit that his writing skills really are admirable. Teeny boppers nationwide will lap up Best Fake Smile while Let It Go, (which is slightly less catchy than Idina Menzel’s version of the title… bad luck Bay) is sure to be a winner.

Chaos And The Calm is a kind of blah attempt at living up to being dubbed as the “next big thing”, which, in fairness  can‘t ever be easy. The album is not horrible, it’s just not great either. James Bay is set to have a great year, he’s got the whole music industry backing him and a solid album to promote. Whether he is a ground breaking performer though, remains to be seen.

Jessica Newsome