The first thing I noticed when listening to the three songs by James Choice that I have on my portable music player (a.k.a. the pie-pod) is the fact that after the first ten seconds I was greeted by a Futurama quote, so straight away the guy was on to a winner. But hell, we’re getting ahead of ourselves right now. The first time I met James Choice was at a house party in Manchester, where he happily let me sing a couple of Alkaline Trio covers with him. In the morning, he gave me the details for an online medium I could listen to his songs. This was two months ago and here we are, finally, with the article I’d promised, half inebriated, that Saturday morning.
Now I’ve had a few run ins with Jame Choice and I could write an entire article about him as a person but, fuck, I have to maintain, not an air but at least a slight draft, of professionalism so lets move onto the music.
There are obviously similarities here with such Asian Man Records acoustic acts like Matt Skiba (the stuff the split with Kevin Seconds) and Mike Park (Asian Man founder). These are clearly a huge influence on James Choice and rightly so, he has taken a strong influence and placed his own twist in both terms of vocals and production, so lets address both.
The vocal talent of this man is surprising. Surprising in a sense that I am genuinely surprised that the first time I saw him play was a house show for little to no money (but perhaps this was a personal choice). At times the vocals are reminiscent of Anthony Raneri of Bayside fame. Seeing as Raneri is also a known Skiba fan, there’s cause for seeing this similarity as, at least to some extent, intentional.
The production of James Choice is what makes the music the most unique. Apart from the fact that, for being demos, the three songs I own would sound perfectly comfortable on most low-key studio recordings (this isn’t a put down, I prefer a bit of raw studio against the “over polished turd” studio sound). James Choice also takes this a step further adding extra instrumentation and synth/samples, creating an atmosphere wholly different to that of 99% percent of underground acoustic acts on the scene at present. Hell, perhaps even 100%, there’s definitely something else in these tracks. ‘Take A Leak’, for example, shows James Choice take a completely different path to the norm, vouching for a much darker style, which would probably be better affiliated with Marilyn Manson’s Holywood that anything in the ‘punk acoustic scene’.
James Choice is available to listen to here