James Holt is a Manchester based musician whose sound is wise beyond his years. At only 23, the vocalist/guitarist and his three piece band tap into multiple genres in their upcoming EP, Sanguine on the Rocks. It’s the kind of music that keeps you guessing and wondering throughout the entire listening experience. It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint which genre Holt is aiming for as he jumps from jazzy-Latin to alt-rock to folk all within a couple of tracks.
The EP kicks off with The Mirror, a song that immediately made me think of the Santana song I blared through my speakers when I was a teenager – Smooth. Just like Smooth, The Mirror has a Latin flare that can’t be ignored. It makes you want to move your hips to the sound of the organ and the sax.
The title track doesn’t hold the characteristics of The Mirror. Aside from the similarities in Holt’s vocals, the title track is very different. It’s much more psych/alt-rock and sounds almost dark or mysterious.
The creepiness of Sanguine on the Rocks fades completely as we move into the third track on the EP, Tears Aren’t Enough. This tune is one of my favourites from the EP as it’s a bit less complicated than the previous two. It’s just a semi-snarky, alt-rock song with a great bass line and catchy chorus.
I should mention that James Holt’s voice sounds eerily like Bob Dylan. Although their musical stylings are quite different, the sound of their voices make me question if the two are related. The only time on the entire album that I don’t hear the similarities is during the EP’s only true ballad, And Then I Awoke. This is also one of the only times that I can hear that his voice has a hint of an accent that I can’t really place, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.
Sanguine on the Rocks is due to release on April 29th and the EP is without a doubt worth a listen. That being said, unless your taste in music is quite diverse, you probably won’t dig everything it has to offer. However, just about anyone will be able to appreciate the skill level it takes for a musician to absolutely nail such a variety of sounds, which is exactly what Holt seems to be doing.