Life seems to be made up of moments when musical discovery comes in at precisely the right moment, usually at a time you’d least expect it.
I’m not saying it is some great work of the cosmos that Bay Area-based singer/songwriter Andrew St. James seems to release his reflective brilliance at just the right moment, but I am saying I haven’t seen Andrew St. James and the cosmic brilliance manifesting being in the same room at the same time.
St. James’ latest release embodies the cathartic insight we’ve come to appreciate over the years. While leaning willfully into the darkness and empty spaces, the aptly titled Light After Darkness becomes a release, offering light through deeply rooted lyrical anchors and acoustic landscapes spotted with new landmarks and memorable turns. The eleven-track release kicks off with the plucking acoustic St. James has embodied in records past, but then takes a turn into an upbeat West Coast Brendan B. Brown-esc sound that oddly works really, really well. However, be warned, taking the first two tracks of Light After Darkness as an example of what you’ll feel throughout is most definitely a mistake. Incorporating slide, balancing electric and acoustic, textured snare, and rolling beats lend themselves to a record that takes noticeable chances for St. James, but executes those chances with grace and precision to ultimately create a deep-dive worthy release of eleven individual successes.
Very few in the modern musical landscape harness the power and prowess Andrew St. James achieves record after record and Light After Darkness only elevates this sentiment. Had Andrew St. James come up in the songwriter era of the 60s and 70s he’d be a name everyone knows. As it is, we’re here discussing his music in the era of immediate gratification. Where stratospheric rise would be seen in decade’s past, today, we see the brilliance slid into a streaming service. An antithesis to the current of modern pace, Light After Darkness embodies a truth to slowing down and spending time reflecting. Somehow, Andrew St. James has again released his art at precisely the right moment and proven there can be Light After Darkness. We all know we need it.