Jimmy McGorman (Jamestown): The World is Falling Down
by H.notes Staff Writer mmm_marica@hanson.net

While waiting for some new Hanson music and with nothing to my liking really happening on the mainstream music front - I decided to venture into the indie music waters, which is really not my cuppa tea. I leave that to the young'uns.

Of course I go to MySpace and I poke around a bit and I stumble on Jimmy McGorman (Jamestown) and I read, "Jamestown is what they call a 'radio song' band. Their music is a combination of English influenced melodic pop and American rock and soul"

Well - having read that, having heard one song with a fabulous chorus, a very distinctive vocal and also being prodded a little bit by my friend, I decided to do the unthinkable, and that is to order the CD. Because, you see:

Give me an up tempo pop/rock song with a hook and chorus that sticks in your head and a lot of vocal and instrumental harmonies and rich background layer of guitars, keys and drum beats in a rhythm that you can't resist... and I will love you forever. Just think If Only or Runaway Run.

No wonder I fell in love with this record on first listen - there are a lot of songs are like that here. Especially You Are Not Alone and the title song The World Is Falling Down as well as All I Know. The last one has the most beautiful bridge that builds up and breaks out into the final chorus and finishes with a wonderful, longing, hooky vocal phrase. Pop at its best.

There are also a few really, really nice mid tempo ballads (those are my favourite ones too!) and the best example is the almost easy-listening Let's Not Fall In Love.

Then there is the last track, the slow, rolling, You and I where Jimmy's dreamy vocal just shines and which, strangely enough (despite what I said before) is my favourite track.

Or is it California, with almost Beatles-que beginning, which slowly builds up into a power ballad?

Maybe Do You Remember with a bass riff underlying almost the whole song and the catchiest little hook?

Or the fast-tempo Rebound with a distant guitar solo on the bridge?

The yearning Change or Here Is Now with that wonderful chorus?

It's really hard for me to decide. The whole record just flows, from the first beat to the last bar. This is the first record after This Time Around where I don't skip a track while listening.

McGorman himself did the arrangements and the production. It's rich and layered but never over the top, with dominating piano chords and lots of backing vocals and harmonies. I assume all the vocals are done by McGorman as well - since nobody else is credited.

McGorman's vocal is a very distinctive one indeed. Imagine John Mayer with more edge and twice the range where the high register has a distant resemblance but the definitive sensibility of Mick Hucknall (of Simply Red) especially during the ballads. But he can carry a beautiful low register as well (The World... and Do You Remember).He sings effortlessly and I imagine that will be all those years of recording and touring, singing backup vocals to acts like Poison, New Radicals (yeah Greg Alexander, guys!), Cher, Michelle Branch and in the two last years - the Rockstar shows.

In summary, what I find so amazing about McGorman's music and the lyrics is it's real and honest and at the same time almost mysterious, full of quiet passion.

I can't finish without a mention of the CD design. It's the cleverest one I have seen in a long time.

It looks like a little black turntable record, like you have one of those 45 rpm little deals and you've shrunk it a bit. It even has track marks and a little red label in the middle. The mock worn out cardboard jewel case just adds to the whole retro feel.

And they said that the sleeve design art died with the demise of the LPs!

Jamestown are:

Jimmy McGorman - Vocals, Piano, Keys, Guitar and Bass
Jon Button - Bass
Dave Allen - Drums
Emerson Swinford - Guitar
David Levita - Guitar

All songs are written or co-written by Jimmy McGorman

Webpage: http://www.jimmcgorman.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/aboutjamestown