TYLER JAMES > It Took The Fire

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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TYLER JAMES

It Took The Fire

(NETTWERK)

[Rating: 3 stars]

At times, Tyler James’ first full-length album, It Took the Fire, makes you believe in the power of the organ. From its contributions to baby-making-music smoothness of the first track, “All I Got”, to its high, trilling sound on “One More Chance,” James seems set on proving that the oft-overlooked instrument can be just as versatile as the guitar, whose sound noticeably takes a backseat throughout.

The punching horns on the album’s opener lets the listener know that James plans on taking them on a trip back through time to the 1970s. Burt Bacharach would be proud (and that’s meant as a compliment.) Where It Took the Fire falls off is its middle section, which features sighing strings on the ballad “Don’t Leave”, and the wrong type of ’70s era horns on “A Sailor’s Tune”—the kind that creates the slogging type of music that will also get you compared to Burt Bacharach (but not as a compliment.)

Thankfully, things are righted by the gospel-infused title track, proving once again that when James stretches his wings musically—like he does on “Sweet Relief” with a carefully constructed crescendo—he is at his best. It’s a shame he doesn’t do so more often.

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