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James Barrett’s The Price of Comfort: Album Review

The Electric City’s James Barrett creates an enchanting sonic journey.

Scranton, Pennsylvania has given birth to a few prominent musicians over the years. James Barrett could very soon find himself amongst such ranks with his newest release, The Price of Comfort. After teasing three singles, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter delivered the final product on Friday, October 11th. What truly propels his story is the captivating and evocative vocals, paired with intelligently layered guitar work; Barrett starts a listener in his deep troubles, but projects them into a heartening promise that one day, everything works out.

If you missed his first single, “The First Days of July,” be ready for it to start things off again. A beautiful arpeggiated chord introduces the album, soon answered by authoritative, rhythmic power chord riffs abruptly kicking the album into your face – all staples of his sound. The first few tracks follow a similar structure yet are still creatively independent. It’s as if the musical style of new-age Goo Goo Dolls has met the powerful punk vocal cries of The Menzingers.

A gorgeous instrumental, “Subsides,” paints the picture of walking through a beautiful field in the rain, yet a hint of sun emerges. Transitioning into the album’s remainder comes “Silver Lining” – my personal favorite. A right off the bat hard-hitting, alternative punk screamer also shows Barrett’s musical prowess. The lyrical content is frustrated with the evil in the world with, his maturing inquisitions being reminiscent of Rise Against; I can picture the crowd screaming this one back at him.

As Barrett retreats to a lone guitar with “On Comfort,” it is a familiar soundscape to past work. His loyal listeners will be pleased. Meanwhile, new ones will appreciate the nostalgic emotion of homeward familiarity and mesmerizing vocal and trumpet play which arrive later. Other pivotal songs is his 6-minute, “The World Back Then,” which resonates his signature interweaved guitar melodies with rich, ceremonial verses; “A Place Devoted” intersects acoustic break points into passionate choruses before foreshadowing Barrett’s enlightening vocals “everything will be beautiful in the end”; and of course, his newest single, and soon to be crowd-pleaser, “Do It Better.” After getting a deep look into Barrett’s intimate journey, the listener arrives at one final song –“Everything Will Be Beautiful in the End.”

Sounds familiar right? The song could not be a better illustration of The Price of Comfort, both in an album sense and in a search for peace. It is a reflection of hope, of love, of frustrations, which Barrett most definitely felt throughout his album. The heavenly intro escalates into soaring vocals, a stunning guitar solo, and a climatic build-up only to end in a hard, immediate cease fire. What a way to close a creative journey.

The Price of Comfort by James Barrett is available everywhere now!

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