Arts & Sciences
Released: Sep 26 2011
Label: Deep See Music
By: Livvy Bennett
James Cook’s debut solo album Arts and Sciences consists of tracks that have a resounding essence about them, defining each and every one to the artist. With a quirky kick, each seems to show his watermark embedded. Previously working as the front man, and principal writer for NEMO, Cook is able to put his signature to his work and make it known. James Cook could be compared to many people due to the similarity in his voice to various artists and individuals, yet he still manages to sound, somewhat unique, in the way he presents himself, and his music.
The Self Machine is a bold, quick and fast opening to the album. It shows a lot of energy through the use of the same repetitive drumbeat, and also the simplistic lyrics, again repetitive, which are easy to listen to, portraying motivation. At times, the drumbeat tends to overpower Cook’s voice.
End of Summer starts with violin strings setting a dark scene, through the first ten seconds of the song. Straight away, the drum goes into a repetitive beat, and Cook’s voice tends to show tone embedding into the beat, due to it going from low pitched to a slightly higher pitch. The classical touch to the song is gained by the slow working of the strings. It has a sense of similarity to Arctic Monkeys; Pretty Visitors.
Selling Ideas begins with a relaxed and romantic feel, the quietness of the backing music, the violins and drums, in comparison to Cook’s soft yet bold voice, allows the listener to be drawn into the simplistic and soft lyrics.
Face to Face has a similar, yet slower, opening rift to Panic at the Disco’s Ballad of Mona Lisa, yet Cook has a similar sound in his voice to Billie Joe Armstrong in Green Day’s Time of your Life. It’s an easy listen, the lyrics are understandable, and with a bold drumbeat, you tend to want to tap your feet to the song.
Circus of Our Lives, again, straight away sets a sense of emotion with the choice of opening instrument, which in this case is, the piano. Lyrics are bold and recognised clearly, “We cross our hearts and hope to die,” are strong and sudden. They suggest the song is about a dark subject, due to the use of the word “die.” Also, the relation to “heart” suggests the song is edging towards the subject of love. “So take my hand and lead the blind in the circus of out lives,” suggesting togetherness, a subject related to love. The song is portrayed as dark, deep, and slow, with the last ten seconds containing single notes of a piano being played.
James Cook – Circus of our Lives