New album: James Sullivan || Vital Signs

Just because James Sullivan pulled the plug on his band More Kicks, doesn’t mean he’s stopped being an artist. His sophomore solo LP Vital Signs, written and recorded in his home studio in 2022, is out today (on CD & LP) via Stardumb Records. It broadens both the artist’s and label’s horizons, and I am all in!

Freed from the confines and expectations of his former band, Sullivan now has a blank canvas to draw on. Like its album art suggests, Vital Signs is a vibrant and colorful record, blending various styles and influences. Despite the minimalistic percussion and instrumentation, the LP sounds surprisingly rich.

Even more so than on his solo debut Light Years, Sullivan distances himself from the catchy garage power pop he played with Suspect Parts and More Kicks – although songs like Best Friend and Day Late Dollar Short are easily reimagined as songs from said bands. The remainder of the record is full of surprising touches and decisions.

The record opens with It’s Good to be wrong, which carries an almost hymn-like feel yet maintains suspense. My Right Boot, anchored by a groovy bass riff and steady electronic drumbeat, will make you want to get up and move. In contrast, All I Wanna Do (Is Do Nothing With You) with its beautiful finger-picked acoustic guitar, draws you back in your seat. The track is followed by La Rochelle, an emotional heavy song featuring Sullivan’s voice accompanied by a captivating string arrangement. The two songs allow for a natural rest point on the record, quickly followed by the designated hit Day Late Dollar Short – watch the fun video below. Guilty as Charged is another highlight for me. If you have a soft spot for singers weaving stories over hypnotizing music, this one will be right up your alley.

Vital Signs showcases a liberated and inspired James Sullivan finding his groove. Alex Chilton, Paul Westerberg, Robyn Hitchcock, and Jonathan Richman would (or will) be bobbing their heads in approval.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb Records || Discogs

1 thought on “New album: James Sullivan || Vital Signs”

  1. Pingback: New album: Local Drags || City In A Room - Add To Wantlist

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top