What really goes down on the east side of the city?
Take a look at the world from Jeffrey James’s lense as he talks love, regret, and heartbreak on his brand new EP ‘East London’.
The song begins with intense lower-pitched synths. Hooking listeners with rich warm tones and reeling them in with the promise of a story.
Throughout this pop ballad James’s vocal performance falls somewhere between Refs and Lewis Capaldi; with the subtle rasp to what is otherwise a very clean vocal delivery, driving home the undertones of sadness.
‘Downtown’ explores the moment where you realise you are in a toxic environment and the only way to remedy the issue is to walk away from everything you once knew in pursuit of happiness.
The track is polished but not rigid or formulaic, synonymous with the time spent ensuring each element spoke to the emotion of the song.
Floating on the air of intentionality ‘Downtown’ discusses the idea of quieting the outside voices leaving the negative opinions of the world behind.
The deep sadness that James is battling is juxtaposed with a cheerful choir singing on the hook as he clings to the hope of starting over somewhere else.
Slow right down
A fresh start is exactly what you hope the couple will get on ‘Slow Right Down’.
As the title may have lead you to believe, track 2 opts for a noticeable change in pace. The adrenaline from running away has seemingly worn off and as the lyrics quite literally suggest it’s time for the couple to figure out where they go from here – without the interruption of external input.
This is cleverly reflected by the eery hollowness of the song’s melody. Keeping the instrumental layering of the track intentionally thin with little more than an electric guitar, piano, and vocals, James is effectively able to convey the concept of being alone with his thoughts.
Doing a total 180, it appears that the delightful couple know exactly what they want and are happy living in the moment, with the song’s sharper notes, showcasing this sense of certainty.
The joy that surrounds this decision is almost euphoric.
The positive energy that this track exudes, powered by dance inspiring drum patterns, musically captures the high of love. But as you may have guessed every high has a comedown.
James seems to hit the ground particularly hard, initially sounding quite depleted on ‘Outside forces’. The singer hasn’t lost his hope as seen with the adlibs on the song’s chorus which sound like inner voices telling him not to give up on love.
Using repetition as reassurance this poignant mid-tempo number is one that is bound to tug on your heartstrings.
One And The Same
The story draws to a close with the final single ‘One And The Same’.
James’s gentle falsetto is a beautiful display of the power of vulnerability.
A classic piano-driven ballad, there are no gimmicks or illustrious sounds just heartfelt honest words.
The song will have listeners wondering where do we go from here? A question James is likely asking himself.
Leaving the end of the story very open-ended, is suggestive of the idea that the rest is yet to be written.
With fantastic storytelling throughout, Jeffrey’s sense of passion connects you with the characters instantly. The EP does a great job of capturing serval moments in time. Stepping away from the fairytale romance it shows the true beauty of love is found when working through the rough patches.
More about Jeffrey
Indiana-born, Tennessee-based Jeffrey James’s love of melodies is inherited from his great-uncle who wrote the book on how to play guitar – Hal Leonard Guitar Method Books.
Having opened for X-Ambassadors, Rachel Platten and Hanson, as well as festival performances at Firefly, Bonnaroo, and Forecastle, Jeffery has spent the last few years refining his soul-infused alt-pop sound as seen on previous single ‘Saltwater,’ his 2016 album Walls and his 2014 debut I’m Wide Awake.