James are back riding a carnival of a musical celebration, with songs that are sure to become instant favourites on the first listen. Known for Come Home, Sit Down, Born of Frustration, She’s a Star, Laid and so many more, James are not the sort of band to rely on past successes, but aim to keep pushing and creating and their albums get better and better. In recent years they have released great albums like La Petite Mort and Girl at the End of the World, but Living in Extraordinary Times is a masterpiece.
By Martin Frank
The album explodes in your eardrums with Hank which is full of Jamesness, and a rich buffet of music masterly accompanied by the pure heavenly tones of Tim Booth’s voice which makes you want to dance and join the party. Coming Home follows and reminds you why James are so so good, “I’ll be coming home, I want to hold your hand across the dark” – their lyrics are filled with words as common as dust but put together by angels. Leviathan builds from something light to something epic as so many James tracks do, and it’s glorious. Heads fills you with a Native American drum beat and then twists towards the reality of the now and warns us of americana in this Land of the Free. Many Faces begins in an almost folky way with “There’s only love that’s strong enough,” but grows as they celebrate our humanity in a spiralling dance of joy.
There is magic here in the words and message – it’s a happy album, it’s euphoric, and it’s joyous and filled with gems held in place by the pure eighteen carat gold of experience. Picture of This Place kicks in and you’re transported back to the nineties with a six-minute track of heaven, a whole new song with an old familiar feel that is somehow new-retro. There isn’t a bad track on this album and the more we hear it the more we enjoy it.
James – just saying the name makes you smile and with so many songs that build to amazing climaxes there’s no wonder – this new album is filled with so many musical treats that it would be a crime to expose them all because there is so much pleasure in discovery. Enjoy this new offering from James, stand tall, wiggle your hips, jump up and down, shake your head and sing along with abandon because you won’t be able to sit down whilst listening to it.