The LA-based James scored a considerable dance hit with the title track to this, her debut album. “Rise” is the most catchy thing here, but the rest isn’t far off the mark—sultry yet earnest, mature dance-pop, given a sharp, clean polish by producer ROCAsound. James has been compared to Sade, Basia, and their ilk. Though her sound is more overtly danceable, her effortlessly romantic delivery makes her a reasonable successor, especially on the sultry “Breathe You In”. Throughout, James’ voice toes the line between blissful and laconic, sometimes hitting on both simultaneously. Thankfully, there’s not a bit of melisma to be found. The tasteful execution probably makes Rise sound more substantial than it really is, but still suggests James is worth keeping an eye on.
Topics: samantha james