The self titled debut album from Canadian signer songwriter Bianca James has only eight tracks, totalling around thirty minutes of music. But it is enough to give a strong flavour of her appeal, showcasing a modern pop sound with clear throwbacks to 60’s R&B. The Montreal native takes both British and American sixties influences into her work, with soul and Motown touches shining through too.
While the album is of a good quality throughout, there are two standout tracks. The piano ballad Till I Remember gives James’ voice space to soar – and she uses it superbly, in a highly emotional song about finding the strength to walk away. Inside Out has a very different sound with a lovely joyful air. It is perhaps the most obviously sixties styled track on the album, the big chorus giving it a defiant and optimistic feel.
Of the other tracks, Debut single Monaco is well crafted and upbeat pop song, telling of travel dreams and a desire to get away from it all in search of a life of luxury. Bang Bang Baby has a big screen feel, sounding like something from a movie soundtrack. The album also features a slower remix of the same song, but this loses much of its energy. Last Words sends a clear final message, marking the end of a relationship with a strong vocal performance.
Bianca James has developed a style of her own, modern yet drawing on a rich variety of music from the past. A combination of passionate songwriting and an emotional and powerful vocal delivery gives a solid basis for her work. This short debut album acts as a good introduction to an intriguing new talent.
Release date: 4 August 2023
Label: Gypsy Soul Records