We are twelve days away from the winter solstice. Long, long nights. Freezing, damp chill and inky black darkness. Seasonal affective disorder is a thing, It is often linked to sunshine deficiency and, if that is the case, I would wager that the West of Scotland has the highest number of cases of SAD syndrome anywhere.
There are ways to keep this disorder at bay. There’s light therapy or medicine. Or the considerably more pleasurable experience of listening to Headroom by James Alexander Bright. This debut album provides about thirty nine minutes of pure, undiluted sunshine. I reviewed it for Louder Than War and that article gives a much more detailed analysis than this short piece.
At the time, I described it as a sumptuous slice of sun-dappled psychedelic soul, a description that still feels about right today. It truly does evoke beautiful images of long, hot summer days, so vivid that you can almost smell the honeysuckle.
It is extremely fluid as it seamlessly glides across genres. From dream-pop to disco, jazz-funk to folk. Yet throughout, Bright makes it all sound so effortless and the different vibes just dreamily merge into one overall languid feel.
It’s such a fantastic debut with some really memorable tracks. It’s particularly worth calling out the minimalist and fragile Dancing With The Birds and you really should check out the sumptuous guitar and harmonies on opening track, Go. The stand out, however, is the throbbing disco beat of Lead Me Astray (see below).
Headroom is an incredibly written and brilliantly produced debut album. It has become a regular fixture on my turntable in recent months and, as the nights grow ever longer, this album continues to bring a ray of sunshine into my life. So, don’t be SAD. Check it out.