JVCK JAMES' Debut Project, DETOUR is a Firm Continuance of his Prowess
Evan Dale // Oct 6, 2019
‘Scared to say what I want ‘cause many words come cheap’ bleeds the silky, emotive register of London’s vocal wunderkind, JVCK JAMES as he introduces the first moments of debut project, DETOUR. For ears tuned to the rumblings of R&B’s next generation – particularly those with a finger on the pulse of the UK’s explosive Neo-Soul spectrum – JVCK JAMES may be debuting, but his name is not one that’s new. When Extroverted Lovers welcomed his unique delivery, relatable penmanship, and affinity for futurist, electronic production in 2017, and as the lead single was coupled with a COLORS performance, JVCK JAMES was a breath of fresh air for a young styling on the constant verge of dramatic change. Unlike an early Golden Era of R&B vocalists exploring hyper-sexualized dramatics, he’s relatable and every-day when divulging his thematic discourse. Unlike an emerging era of modernists merging the old with a more instrumentally-bound soul spectrum, he’s electronically-grounded, founding his own emergence as an artist unbound by anything but flowering experimentation. Only really comparable to names like Frank Ocean and Brent Faiyaz in unparalleled, top-shelf vocal talent hand-in-hand with electronically experiential direction at large, JVCK JAMES should never worry about his words coning across as anything but worth their weight in gold.
And though coming in at only five tracks and fourteen minutes, DETOUR feels as though it’s the first of many scenic overlooks on a JVCK JAMES gold-laden road to the top. For a vocalist who has made his start under the banner of seven singles (eight if you count an acoustic cut of Fall Free that delineates his gift as even deeper than it comes across at surface level) there’s something to say about the fact that DETOUR is a collection of entirely new tracks.
The project is tied together with a productive thread where the tenants of his electronic nuance flow seamlessly as a composition from start to end. Delicate keys, thought-provoking chimes, and an immersive wave, at times near-ambient, at others explosive and energetic guides a listener from DETOUR’s opener, FRIEND OF MINE to its finale, SUMMER. And SUMMER, favorable to the pallet of his expanding auditory aesthetic, rides an acoustic wave of its own, exhibiting his newly tuned knack for the softer, underproduced edges of his artistry.
The flow of his vibes follows the path directed by each track’s underlying production. FRIEND OF MINE boasts the most complex, layered beat, and per such likewise exhibits the highest intensity of his range and the fieriest look at his emotionality. 4AM is the next chapter in the long, established lineage of JVCK JAMES’ undeniable gift at putting together a romantic ballad. Balanced on a silky, emotive beat popping with highlights of electronic guitar that accent his own vocal bursts, JVCK JAMES shines brightest when spelling us all under the guise of romanticism and love. After a brief intermission, FULL SPEED mirrors the minimalist production and emotionality of 4AMand breathes of an anthemic vibe that make it perhaps track most primed for global popularity. And then it runs back towards the acoustically-nuanced SUMMER.
It’s not a debut album – only an EP – but it shines brighter than most full-length projects do. And fairly, expectations on a JVCK JAMES debut were high from the moment he entered the scene. He’s a 20-year-old phenom who was 18 at the time of his debut single. But with a couple years, an opening tour for Mahalia, and an ever-widening pool of talent and experimentation, that expectation was born from the breadth, uniqueness, and intrigue that he’s put on display with each and every single release of his career.
Through each of its four tracks and a calming intermissionary breath, DETOUR is anything but what its name might assume. It’s a bold continuance of his firm groove towards an eventual style that he’s invented and has already established as a courageous new take on the future of R&B. And JVCK JAMES succeeds in putting on display his knack for many emotional explorations from the anthemic to the romantic, to the sexual, to the relatable. It’s exactly what debut projects strive to be but what few rarely ever achieve. But, with the career beginnings that his career has shown, it’s what could never be expected, but what was always hoped for.
JVCK JAMES is a bright name with a heavy hand on the wheel of R&B’s ongoing changes of direction, and DETOUR will always be the project that set in motion a career unbound for anything but greatness.