Last week, James McVey of The Vamps shared his fantastic solo EP titled “Manabi”!
“Manabi” features six wonderful tracks that are all just as precious as the last. You can listen to the first, to the last track in one sitting and wonder where the time had gone. Within these songs, James opens up about his mental health and relationships in the most beautiful way possible. In order to do it justice, let us talk you through the EP track by track:
Blood and Bones
“Blood and Bones” was the second single James released ahead of the EP. It perfectly sets the tone, and demonstrates what’s to come. It’s a gentle track that begins with a simple, yet impactful, guitar melody. The track showcases James’s ability to write a song with powerful lyrics, whilst being paired with instrumentation that is uncomplicated, though sweet and beautiful – which matches the tone of the track marvellously.
“Antarctica” takes it up a notch. Once again, we are greeted with a lovely guitar melody however, this time the song just keeps on building and building until we’re passionately singing out loud to anyone that hears. Vocally and lyrically, you can hear the sheer passion that has gone into the creative process when writing this song. Although all tracks on this EP have their strong points, “Antarctica” stands out as one of the most powerful in all aspects. The build up to the end is exquisitely done, and it’s a track that is just so addictive – making you feel all the feels.
Dancing on the Head of a Needle
“Dancing on the Head of a Needle” was the the first single James McVey released ahead of the EP. This was the first time we heard James venture away from The Vamps, and show us what he can do as a solo artist. It is far different from what you would hear from The Vamps, but that is the beauty of band members branching out to find themselves musically on their own. You are able to hear a completely different side to them that you may not have heard within the band. “Dancing on the Head of a Needle” allowed fans to hear what James can do outside of a band, and it’s fair to say it paid off.
Next up is “30,000 Feet” which changes the tone ever so slightly. It still has that gentle, acoustic-driven instrumentation as the previous songs however, he jazzes it up a bit. Although, at the end of the track, James almost slaps you across the face as it builds into something so passionate, before then toning it right down again as the songs fades into the perfect finish.
Strength in Numbers
“Strength in Numbers” is up next, and we are still not bored of “Manabi” yet. Each track offers such a different listening experience. With “Strength in Numbers,” the dreamlike harmonies are what makes the song so uniquely its own. The lyrics are also charming and wonderfully written. Although we are coming to the end of the EP, “Strength in Numbers” makes you wish that the experience would never end.
Dance or Die
Finally, we end on a high with “Dance or Die.” In this song, James McVey showcases his fantastic high notes. We started off simply with “Blood and Bones,” and now we’ve come full circle with another gentle song. “Dance or Die” has a stunning piano melody that is just hypnotising. It’s a track that could probably put you to sleep, but in the best way possible. There is comfort within it. Almost as if you are not alone. You can feel connected to all the other fans that are listening to it in that moment and feel a little less lonely – which is exactly what the power of music should do.
Overall, “Manabi” is simply incredible. It creates a relaxing atmosphere, but also has so much impact. It’s emotional, yet hopeful. You can connect with every note being played, every lyric that is sung. James McVey has successfully created an EP that matches his music abilities – and it was a pleasure to listen to…and also have on repeat for the foreseeable future.
You can witness this masterpiece yourself by streaming “Manabi” on all major streaming platforms, and you can follow James on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for further news! You can also check out our interview with James where he talks about the EP and his inspirations in more depth!