Josh Kumra - Good Things Come To Those Who Don't Wait (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
JOSH Kumra is a young troubadour with one foot in acoustic singer-songwriting and the other stepping nimbly between R&B, soul and pop. It puts him in a nice position to enjoy massive success.
And, to be fair, debut album Good Things Come To Those Who Don’t Wait is a strong collection of songs that showcase an appealing new voice.
Admittedly, the album perhaps contains one ballad too many and is at its most interesting when diversifying. But if you currently get your musical kicks from listening to the likes of Ben Howard, Ray Lamontagne, Matthew Morrison and Coldplay, here’s someone else to add to your playlist.
Furthermore, his songs are rooted in emotion, having been inspired by the type of songwriting that Kumra is desperate to emulate.
“I’ve always related to emotional songs,” he says, citing as examples Fool To Cry by The Rolling Stones, Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and This Love Is Over by his all-time hero Lamontagne, to whom he is unsurprisingly compared.
“Those songs connect with me. Not that I’m unhappy or a sadist, but I do gravitate towards hearing people suffering in songs. I like it when I hear pain because it feels more true.”
Hence, song titles give indications as to what to expect. Reckless Love and I’m Not The One being two prime examples of songs that enjoy exploring complex emotions. Hence, while the composition of certain songs suggests romance and happiness, there’s often a darker edge.
Not that Kumra ia averse to celebrating love, either, but perhaps in a more thoughtful way too.
The tracks worth talking about include former single The Answer, which is couched in sorrow-tinged vocals that evoke an immediate sense of sincerity,. The accompanying beats and acoustic guitars provide a subtle, yet nicely realised backdrop, while the chorus is well delivered and really gets into your head in a good way. It’s a good way to kick-start the album.
The aforementioned Reckless Love has a brooding R&B vibe that’s similarly appealing and shrouded in the emotion that Kumra holds dear, while Keep On Walking laments wistfully “nothing’s real without you, even the ground beneath my feet” over atmospheric beats and electronics.
Another highlight, Find My Way Home, drops in more vibrant beats and a gospel backing that has a certain Primal Scream influence, Waiting For You combines Kumra’s smoky vocals with another blues-gospel backdrop that contributes to one of the album’s best choruses, and Lost Again has a swoon-some “woo hoo” vibe that makes for effortlessly easy pop.
Kumra then leads towards the epic, Princess of China style pop of latter-day Coldplay with another surefire single contender on Be My Light (you could call it rave pop), before displaying a more dangerous edge on the similarly appealing mood rocker that is I’m Not The One.
Where Do We Go From Here, co-written with Eg White, really does recall blue-eyed soul in the raspy, husky vein of Rod Stewart and Steve Marriott, before White And Black rounds out the album with an upbeat duet with Maiday in a country-folk style (serving as a reminder of Kumra’s troubadour roots, with a touch of Paul Simon).
If anything, the album ends stronger and more diverse than it begins. But no matter, Kumra has done enough to win you over and can surely expect great things from here on in.
Download picks: The Answer, Find My Way Home, Be My Light, Find My Way Home, I’m Not The One