|Album Review: James Hersey – Innerverse|
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James Hersey has enchanted us for years with his alluring vocals and infectious singles, whisking us off to far away worlds- tropical, dreamy and perpetually in season. But this year, he's decided to take us on a different journey: he's bringing us home in his latest min-album Innerverse.
Innerverse is a delicately curated 8-track mini-album that takes Hersey's newfound success and strips it down to its core – the songwriting. In the opening track "Taking You Home", Hersey spins a story of love that redefines the expression "home is where the heart is". It's a slow, guitar-plucked ballad that welcomes us in, offers a comfortable seat, and puts a warm drink in our hands. When describing the circumstances that led up to the recording of this album, Hersey shares that "after navigating the whirlwinds of 'Coming Over' and 'Miss You', I felt the need for calmer seas. After all, my biggest dreams just came true, and I wanted to enjoy that feeling in peace. Instead of forcing myself to create what's expected, I thought: Let me just tell it like it is."
True to that thought, "We Might Fall" delves even deeper into the psyche of a new love and all its possibilities. Quite literally. The chorus never completes the title sentence, leaving "might fall in" as an open-ended statement, free of any restrictions. It's clever songwriting, being able to emulate the rush and excitement of an adventure with someone new without ever calling it what it is. And it's the perfect lead-in to the more uptempo "Don't Need Me", a track that is just screaming to be remixed into everyone's new favourite summer anthem. Featuring longtime collaborator narou, this song incorporates familiar James Hersey elements – distinctly melodic guitar overlayed with an uplifting dream pop beat, and swoon-worthy vocals delivering an instantly addictive chorus.
It wouldn't be a true homecoming without recognizing the people that built your first home. Hersey takes a moment to thank the most important people in his life on "These Gifts"- his parents. In a personal and touching narrative, Hersey reflects on all the "gifts" his parents have bestowed upon him, including moral support, opportunity, and unconditional belief in his abilities. The same abilities that have allowed him to create a refined, percussion-filled production that fills every space it finds itself in.
Hersey rounds out this mini-album with "Everywhere You Go", an emotive, acoustic observation on the fear holding us back from what we truly want to be. Perhaps it's meant to be inspiring, and perhaps it's meant to reflect Hersey's deepest, inner fears. But whatever it may be, it's a definitive culmination of the journey he's taken, not just in this album, but in his fast-paced and lustrous career thus far. As he puts in, "this is where it all comes from. This is my inner voice. My Innerverse."
Innerverse marks Hersey's first release on vinyl, and if it's any indication of where this charming multi-talented artist is heading, we can't wait to take the next ride. You can catch James Hersey on his headlining UK & European tour this spring.