Imagine the spark you feel when you meet someone new—a warmth that spreads through your entire being. This is the tender ground James Spencer, the UK’s gifted folk-rock artist, cultivates in his song, “If.” Returning after captivating audiences with “My Hand & My Heart,” Spencer brings us a song that explores the beautiful vulnerability of budding love. Released on February 9, Spencer invites us to sway to the rhythm of vulnerability and longing.

From the moment the song begins to play, the intro makes use of some beautiful and magical acoustic and string-like tones that sound ethereal and otherworldly. We, as listeners, are then transported to a different world. James Spencer’s vocals, tinged with a bittersweet quality and imbued with a touch of nervous hope, perfectly capture the fluttering butterflies that take flight with a new crush with the opening lines, “From the first day I met you, you made me warm inside. From the first day I met you, I’ve felt these butterflies.” The introduction of Abbe Martin, the captivating and ethereal voice of Exeter’s “Sound of the Sirens,” adds another layer of sweetness to the melody. It complements Spencer’s deeper tones, creating a beautiful counterpoint that reflects the tentative nature of their connection.

At the heart, “If” paints a vivid picture of the heart’s dance in the early throes of love. “My heart is all aglow,” sings Spencer, a vulnerability mirrored in Martin’s “Tell me you feel the same?” The central theme of the song hinges on this question—a hopeful plea for reciprocity. The repeated line, “Cos if I’m gonna jump you have to jump with me, and if I’m gonna fall you have to fall with me,” captures the essence of taking a leap of faith in love. It’s a beautiful metaphor for the vulnerability required when putting your heart on the line.

Moving on, the instrumentation of “If” is simple but the phenomenal production makes it sound expansive and full. Spencer’s signature folk-rock sound provides a comforting backdrop for this exploration of nascent love. The gentle strums of his guitar intertwine with the soulful notes of Rebecca Balzani Barrow’s violin and Emma Collingham’s cello, creating a soundscape that feels both intimate and hopeful. The music never overpowers the emotions conveyed in the lyrics, instead opting to gently guide the listener through the protagonist’s journey. The production quality, is of the highest standard, providing an immersive and emotional listening experience.

James Spencer, with “If,” offers a song that is as relatable as it is beautiful. It’s a serenade for the hesitant romantics, a reminder that the scariest jumps can often lead to the most rewarding destinations. James and Abbe have successfully captured the human musical essence of modern folk music while imbuing it with their unique and personal touch. To me, the listening experience was enjoyable, and the aftertaste was incredible; the chorus, along with the soulful harmonies, lingered in my ears for quite some time. This impact, I believe, will entice anyone to return to the music time and time again. “If” is a song to hold close, a testament to the beauty and vulnerability of taking a chance on love. So, put on your headphones, close your eyes, and let James Spencer and Abbe Martin serenade you with the delicate melody of “If.” You might just find yourself ready to jump.

Listen to “If” by James Spencer on Spotify and let us know your thoughts.

You can follow James Spencer here for more information.