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On Friday the 10th of July, songwriter James Humphry brought out his new EP ‘Memory Palace.’ I had heard his earlier release of ‘Colour’ in May and was looking forward to seeing what else the EP would contain. He had released numerous singles over the last few years (‘I’m Not Your Man’ being a personal favourite) but his last EP was ‘Sun Mantra’ in 2017.
Humphry’s cheerful and funky music would have been perfect for summer. It is easy listening and upbeat. You could have played ‘Memory Palace’ at a family barbecue and everyone would have felt nodded along with enjoyment. Sadly, we didn’t get that summer and James didn’t get the release party he may have hoped. It may just be me, but I believe his new EP is somehow more fitting for our current gloomier times. The four songs explore a lot of emotions and thoughts that we all have felt during our time in lockdown.
The opening track, ‘All the Same’ is a perfect example of this. This upbeat song discusses the believing in yourself and holding on through uncertain times. James says ‘All the Same’ provides “a reminder that it’s okay to feel good about things.” This seems fitting for lockdown as many of us have returned to guilty pleasures to help cope during times of isolation or loneliness. Also, the core message of resilience shone through to me when I listened in the middle of June. The chorus is incredibly catchy and will be playing on your repeat in your head after a few listens. This isn’t so much a bad thing as the positive message shines through and lifts up your spirits. I especially liked the instrumental bridge. It reminded me of being swallowed by water then swimming to the surface. This alludes to the chorus lyric “When you feel like going under” which I thought was a nice addition to the song.
The middle two tracks stand out as the two funkier sounding songs. ‘Better Now’ is intended to demonstrate that you are not alone when things feel out of control. James attempts to remind of the importance of friendship and that everyone feels out of their depth at some point. ‘Colours’ is equally funky but its message is a little bit darker as it explores noticing fake personas in friends. ‘Colours’ ends with a great trumpet solo which shows Humphry’s less explored jazz influences.
‘Lost in You’ is the standout track to me. James co-wrote this with his girlfriend Bethany. Her voice also appears on the track and compliments his greatly. It is the softest of the three songs but is still incredibly upbeat. The track is full to the brim with chemistry, which is fitting for the song intending to be about being lost in a new lover. The lyrics are sweet and relatable. It perfectly sums up an incredibly wholesome feeling.
‘Memory Palace’ is a lovely EP full of upbeat tracks. It is obvious that Humphry has found his voice and style since ‘Sun Mantra.’ The increase of production and confidence in his lyrics shines through, and it stands as his best EP yet. If you want something upbeat and easy to listen to then this is the EP for you. I found it a comforting listen during lockdown with many of his positive messages being very fitting for these uncertain times.