Artist: James Black
Album: Moon Boot Cocoon
Release Date: May 27, 2014
By Chloe Hoy. People may not be familiar with James Black as a solo artist, but the Finger Eleven guitarist proves that he can hold his own in his debut album, Moon Boot Cocoon. The new release opens with the experimental “Color Blind,” complete with trippy instrumentation and fast-paced vocals. “The Gravity” is lonely, wistful and haunting: “I had it all to myself / And now I’m back to dealing with everybody else / To tell you the truth / I didn’t want to come back at all / Cause when you’re standing on the moon / Every single problem in the world seems small.”
Exploration at its finest, Black uses his rock roots, with hints of funk and alternative to impress listeners with a collection of well-crafted songs. “Man From Mars” is disorderly, yet strikes a certain chord that would certainly draw crowds to its across galaxies vibe. The singer songwriter creates a wondrous soundscape with “Troubled Times,” and impresses with a large use of instrumentation. “The Moon’s Dark Ways” is a song about the sun falling in love with the moon’s dark ways, causing a permanent living in the “midnight phase.” Giving off a slight hint of country, the themes of the universe and space are lovingly brought to life in this track.
Closing with “Headlights,” Black draws to a strong finish with the foot stomping tune. Although not my usual listen, there are not many flaws in this release, which offers a fresh sound and outlook on the unknown in the sky. For optimal listening pleasure, do so with an open mind to visualize what you are listening to – you’d be surprised to get some great imagery! Feel free to watch his “Man From Mars” music video below.