In September last year, James Vincent McMorrow released a game-changing, career-defining album. Nine months later, he did it again.

2016's We Move, McMorrow's third album, broke new ground for the Irish singer-songwriter. After two records of sparse, elusive folk, McMorrow decided to focus more on RnB and electronica soundscapes, phoning in producers Two Inch Punch (Jessie Ware, Ty Dolla $ign), Frank Dukes (Lorde, Frank Ocean) and Nineteen85 (Drake, DJ Khaled).

We Move was a success, earning McMorrow a new horde of fans, particularly in the United States. Most artists would barely be thinking about their next album so immediately after a breakthrough - but while on tour for We Move, McMorrow suddenly found himself gripped with inspiration.

"We would finish shows, and I would jump on the tour bus, bust out my laptop and just start making these sounds and these ideas," says McMorrow, the opening act for London Grammar at Spark Arena this Saturday.

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"When I got home that Christmas it became apparent to me really quickly that there was an album there. It just happened in that way; I don't know how or why. Maybe it'll never happen again."

The ideas were too good, and too urgent, to keep them confined within the traditionally staggered spacing of albums. In May this year, McMorrow returned with his fourth record True Care; "I'm here to make music, to make it when it comes, to release it when it's as fresh to me as it is to you," he wrote on his website at the time.

True Care is largely self-produced, with McMorrow exercising the production chops he'd learned from his colleagues on We Move - but it's rough around the edges, with imperfections left unpolished and McMorrow's beautiful falsetto left stark and raw. That he managed to write, produce and release a record while on the road is staggering - but McMorrow says it came naturally.

"I just don't sleep. I don't rest, I'm not good at it, I don't understand why I would do it," he says.

"The album was fun - it just clicked. The reason it came out the way it did, and the reason I haven't put a huge amount of time into promoting it, in a really earnest way, was that I just felt excited at the fact that it existed. It was clicking and coming together in a way that things rarely come together for me."

James Vincent McMorrow at the 2017 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival in San Francisco in August. Photo / Getty
James Vincent McMorrow at the 2017 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival in San Francisco in August. Photo / Getty

True Care

is a record about self-preservation - but beyond that, it's about coming to terms with the strange selfishness of searching for meaning in our lives - "But I don't want to sit and read philosophy books to try and figure out what it is to be alive and what it means," says McMorrow.

"I want to try and find it myself, but I want to find it in real terms. Not pie in the sky bulls*** that has no applicable meaning to me; I want to try and get to it in a way that is tangible and not profound.

"You wake up in the morning and sometimes you don't want to go buy milk. You don't want to talk to people, but you want more for yourself and you want to look at life and think, 'there's a purpose to this'. And True Care was very much me fitting and contemplating that in a much more deliberate and meaningful capacity."

Whether or not he found that meaning may soon be irrelevant; he's already writing his fifth album.

LOWDOWN:

Who: James Vincent McMorrow
What: Opening act for London Grammar
When: Saturday September 30
Where: Spark Arena

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