James Haynes

James Haynes & Christo Loukopoulos are two friends who have been on a mission over the last six months or so, to write and record their debut album. After the release of the debut single “Believe” back in November the duo have teamed up with friend and multi-talented local musician/producer Jordan Ayriss to help record the album. The album which is released this month is called “Brand New Heights” and James states he chose the name as it makes a statement about the hardy efforts that they were putting in during the creation of this debut long-player.

The album kicks off with something we are all used to in this country, the sound of pouring rain; then a gentle guitar intro before it sequels in “Thunder”, a tune which shows at first hand the great lyrical ability of the pair who can equally engage and uplift. The song is clearly inspired by someone close and also their coastal surroundings in the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth. “Proud” is a grittier tune where negative feedback given is taken to heart, making the subject more determined to succeed than ever before. It’s sung from the heart and features some lovely vocals harmonies. Next is the debut single “Believe” which is a really easy listen; vibrant, infectious and would not sound out of place if played on a national radio station.

“Disjointed” is where the boys really start to cultivate their own sound; it’s a really well-crafted song where the duo’s great chemistry comes across with some impressive electric guitar work from Chriso, that I’m informed was recorded in just one take. Though sometimes the whole recording process can be long and arduous, it appears the guys had plenty of fun in the studio. If you listen very carefully to the final mix of the album, you may be able to hear some carefully placed subliminal messages that are hidden within the tracks. For example: towards the end of “Wings Wide” you can hear James shouting “lovely” in the background. In another track, Christo is rumoured to be saying “you want to buy this album” (played backwards).

My favourite song on the album which I have heard the guys play a few times live is “Wings Wide”, a tune that gives a big bold statement with possibly their best creation to date. It has some great lyrical content and the boys excel with their guitar work, coupled with some great rhythm work from Jordan. Things take a slight change of pace for “4:10”, a slower more reflective tune with plenty of emotion and yet another great guitar piece from Christo. The song is a really personal tune about James’s Mother’s heartache caused after the death of his Grandmother and certainly acts as a fitting tribute to both of them. The collection ends with “City Lights” (or so we are lead to believe) another tune worthy of single status, infectious and well-constructed. If you have looked at the CD cover you would think that’s the end of the album; but oh no, these crafty chaps have squeezed in a hidden track which is a dedication to James’s partner Tamatha. It’s a tune called “My Only” where James’s heart once again is worn boldly on his sleeve, delivering a love song from the very depths of his soul.

These guys are just within the Genesis of their musical career and they still have so much to learn. Their enthusiasm, chemistry and sometimes musical innocence are all shown here on their debut record. It’s an album that all concerned can be very proud of and a recording that will be looked upon as a starting point. The process has enriched, educated and started a momentum that is already being continued with further new material being created for the next record.

All tracks written by James Haynes & Christo Loukopoulos

Rhythm Guitar & Lead Vocals – James Haynes
Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals – Christo Loukopoulos
Bass, Drums, Additional Vocals & Orchestral Arrangements – Ayriss

James Haynes

Track Listing
Wings Wide
City Lights
My Only (Hidden Track)

You can purchase the album here.


Words & Video by David Chinery.

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