Teeming with alt-rock guitar licks, the collage-work of bold post-punk melodies, and lead singer Michael Madrid’s alluring vocals, Phoenix-based indie quintet James World will take you on a captivating indie rock journey, oscillating from the gentleness of vulnerability to the raucousness of raw emotion.
In 2016, the band released the EP Eyes Out under the name The James Band, four indie rock tracks that emotively move between starkly contrasting sections of quiet, heartfelt moments and abrupt, loud outbursts. The band’s latest, Funny Dreams, is far more experimental.
On their debut album Funny Dreams, James World embark on an enthralling endeavour of alt-rock ballads, brimming with raucous energy and raw emotion.
James World is a five-piece band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Michael Madrid, drummer Nate Ray, bass guitarist Harrison Ray, guitarist Kalebh Ryals, and synth wizard/back-up vocalist Connor Sanchez.
Michael, Nate, and Harrison met all the way back in 2000 through the church, where they played together in youth group, eventually meeting Kalebh and Connor later down the road in life.
The band rose from painful origins, as Michael’s father had a fatal heart attack while performing music as a worship leader at church. To this day, Michael writes music using the guitar their dad was playing during his final performance, Michael explains “that event shows that through trauma and heartbreak beautiful events can occur. My goal is to give everything to music just like my father did”.
On their debut album, Funny Dreams, James World embark on an enthralling alt-rock endeavour, exhibiting ambitiously immersive arrangements and an experimental artiness that encapsulates the styles of This Heat and The Dismemberment Plan infused with the poetic vulnerability of Jeff Buckley.
The brainchild of lead-singer Michael Madrid, this album “represents a turning point” for the band and “it marks a new age. It’s all been healing, even though it feels uncomfortable sometimes to be this revealing.”
Lyrically, Michael uses abstraction and metaphor to convey hauntingly beautiful ideas, stating that their “approach is openness, vulnerability, and transparency—I want to leave everything on the table. That said, we always try to not take ourselves too seriously”.
Designed to be listened to as a whole, Funny Dreams is a ten-track album-oriented experience, brimming with alt-rock ballads, dense sound patchwork, and heart-pumping soft/loud dynamics. The album is inspired by “the dreams we have that are so personal that sometimes you feel like you have to hold back from telling people because you don’t want to reveal parts of yourself”.
Immerse yourself in the album above.