Self-titled albums are always a statement, an announcement to the world that you have arrived. In the case of Kris James, it’s been a long time coming. Not that it hasn’t also been worth it – the dissolution of his band The Scheme left him free to follow the creative spark which was being curtailed by boy band etiquette. Recording the song he had written for the band as a solo artist instead, ‘Eyes Open’ went straight into the UK Top 30. That’s just the irresistible magnetism of James as an artist and persona, as well as a testament to his staying power.
Now, Kris James turns towards his past, with the benefit of hindsight, in order to examine his life experience and share his story – triumphing in the kind of thinking man’s pop music that only comes along once in a blue moon.
Kris James is, by now, an absolute expert at hiding emotionally complex themes and boundless authenticity in catchy pop songs. In the past, themes of toxic masculinity, anxiety, and honesty in romance have peppered James’ uniquely sophisticated hooks and harmonies – ensuring that we have something to dance to and think about at the same time.
His approach to album-writing is also refreshingly sincere. “When I pick up an album, I want to love the whole thing, not just tracks one, four and eight. My mindset whilst writing was that if this proves to be the last thing I ever release, I want it to be a definitive statement; to be the best it can be.” True to form, Kris James has no fodder. It perfectly captures James as an artist, a songwriter and, above all, a person – someone who has a story to tell.