English singer/songwriter James Yuill has been making music for a couple years now, but his debut album, Turning Down Water For Air, is just being released today in the States. Yuill makes electronically infused folk music that's melodic and charming, fitting into territory that might best be described as 'mid-fi.' His acoustic-meets-synthetic sound isn't especially revelatory, but Yuill carves out a unique niche for himself within the genre, seamlessly blending seemingly diverse elements in a way that's both very accessible and refreshingly progressive.
Water For Air is a surprisingly (to me, at least) relaxed set, truly a folk record at heart. While so many of today's new electronica artists go for bigger, faster, and funkier, Yuill keeps things level and thoughtful throughout his debut disc. In fact, I kept expecting a danceable single to pop out at me halfway through my first listen, but the bright, fuzzy highlight "No Pins Allowed" was as close as I was offered. Generally, the tunes stay mid-tempo, occasionally flashing groovy beats but focusing on Yuill's somewhat cheesy romantic sentiments most of the time. The result is a set of songs that aren't always immediate but provide plenty of solid material to grow on you after several spins. Other highlights include the sunny "This Sweet Love," the beat-heavy "No Surprise," and the gentle ballad "Breathing In."
Yuill's sugary, simple lyrics may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he's got time to grow into the obvious musical talent he possesses. Though this release will no doubt be overshadowed by some of this year's biggest releases, make sure you take the time to give it a chance. Turning Down Water For Air is a remarkable first effort with an appeal that should garner this gifted young artist some well-deserved accolades. Below you will find two downloads from the new record, both highly recommended.
No Pins Allowed (Zipped MP3)
She Said In Jest (Zipped MP3)
Check out James Yuill on MySpace