JAMES BAY

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - LAU­REN MUR­PHY

Chaos and the Calm ★★

Repub­lic Records

You wouldn’t be blamed for buy­ing into the hype around James Bay. The young English­man has been touted as the Next Big Thing by the UK’s mu­sic press, re­cently pick­ing up the BRIT Crit­ics’ Choice Award. Like most Next Big Things, sadly, the re­al­ity is slightly more damn­ing. On Bay’s de­but al­bum, recorded in Nashville with Grammy-win­ning pro­ducer Jac­quire King, strummed gui­tar, twin­kling pi­ano and rous­ing folk-pop tunes col­lide with lovelorn bal­ladry and the pseudo-emo­tion ped­dled by song­writ­ers who glean their sto­ries from fic­tion rather than real life. Bay is a hy­brid of Ed Sheeran and James Mor­ri­son, with an ex­tra help­ing of bland­ness and even less risks. It’s not bad, re­ally – just ter­ri­bly, un­remit­tingly or­di­nary. face­book.com/james­bay­mu­sic

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