Album review: James Morrison – Higher Than Here


Morrison returns to bring us his fourth album after a short paternity break and holiday in normality. For his forth album he dug deep and channelled his emotions, so what heady feelings will rise this time?

The album opens with Demons. Very apt and it certainly pays for him getting his demons out of the way in the first track, the pop-auto-tune experimentation is far from the guilty pleasure crooning we are used too.

Higher Than Here is Morrison’s 4th studio album, and the first in 4 years.

Higher Than Here is Morrison’s 4th studio album, and the first in 4 years.

Luckily it doesn’t Stay Like This in the next song and does highlight the fact that he has a great and enjoyable singing voice. The composition here is still quite safe, although that is forgivable after the first track.

Heaven To A Fool immediately catches your attention with a throaty opening of what sounds like a didgeridoo, closely followed by a choral backing that gives the piece a very complete and composed feel. This smooth soul track has a much more individual sound and Morrison’s voice bends itself to it very well.

Channelling The Wanted or 1D, the next song takes a bit of a dive until We Can in the middle of the album reels us in again. Sounding like the interlude to Interstellar, the airy, atmospheric ballad may not be for everyone but it is ear-catching and relaxing.

Too Late For Lullabies maintains a strong soul feel, created by well-timed drums and punchy rhythmic lyrics. The verbal imagery may be cliché in places but it is tastefully included and overall creates an enjoyable atmosphere, reminiscent of his old hit Wonderful World. The following track Something Right does just that. It’s listenable, familiar but a little bit vague musically and lyrically.

Easy Love is the penultimate pleasure on the album. Jubilant, busy and raucous, the song has some real passion to it. Listened to through a good sound system, however, you may find the additional electronic fizzes and whirls a bit unnecessary to the mix.

Skipping a song to Just Like a Child would have been the perfect album finisher – slow, soul searching and sincere. With the acoustic backing not distracting anything from Morrison’s voice and a clear link to an actual event into his life, this song feels the most real on the entire album.

Unfortunately, the album finishes with Higher Than Here which sounds over-written, musically forced and much too obvious. There are moments when you feel like Morrison is actually fighting the supporting musicians for his space on the track, not helped by the background clapping used as an unnecessary signpost for an audience to join in.

Morrison is a talented musician and you can hear that, he has a strong following amongst easy listeners and most of this album will please them.

Rating: 7/10

Author – Joe, Bath store