EP Review: James Bannon – Heat Ghosts

Heat Ghosts is the debut EP of James Bannon, a six-track collection that introduces him to us, and to much of the rest of the world.

By Graeme Smith

As is often the case, James’s debut is a very personal affair, built from stories of his life and the lives of those he has known. It brings us love lost, love found, and love missed. It explores early life, and the end of it through beautifully-articulated indie folk rock.

The EP opens with Kitchens Everywhere. It’s a slow-burning start, with ambient electronica before an emotional acoustic guitar riff enters. Things go along at a melancholic pace before James’s expressive vocals come in, singing descriptive lyrics that paint pictures in your mind’s eye. Written about the collapse of a friend’s long-term relationship, it’s a hard-hitting and vulnerable scene-setter.

Dinner Party ups the tempo and energy, dwelling instead on new love. Its lyrical story is full of fluttering whimsy but sadly the tale doesn’t have a happy ending, like much young love. Footnote rounds off the first half of the EP with another love story, this time about a relationship unexplored. It’s a simmering wistful track where the instrumentals are stripped-back in the verse, giving plenty of space to the emotion of James’s vocals. It’s a highlight.

Morning Canvas is a darkly poetic moment, delicately delivered and rich with heart-breaking detail. Now You Know brings with it some bright brass and a cantering tempo. A homage to childhood there’s a youthful nostalgia about it. Autumn closes the EP with a devastating tale of childhood cancer. There’s a lightness to its instrumental arrangement that emphasises the heaviness of the lyrics all the more. It’s a final highlight.

James Bannon truly is a captivating songwriter and the personal nature of this debut EP makes it very endearing. There’s a nice mix of genres on display across its six tracks, meaning you stay gripped waiting to hear what will come next. James is definitely a name to keep an eye on.

Heat Ghosts is out now via Shark Story Records. You can give it a listen below.