James

Girl at the End of the World

BMG

Mar 22, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Hats off to James for really stretching out and experimenting on their latest offering. They've been known for such daring before, on Wah-Wah, B-sides, and in their live performances. Even on past albums there's usually that adventurous feel, but song-wise they've made a career on one particular chord progression, one that often works spectacularly for them but here has lesser effect on first single "Nothing But Love." Which makes the boldness of the rest of the record that much more refreshing. Instrumentally, opener "Bitch" comes on like Bowie stealing Joy Division for his backing band on Low. The album hits its stride at track six for a strong four-song run that captures and updates the classic spirit of the band. "Feet of Clay" is a lovely acoustic lilt with Tim Booth reflective and just the right side of resigned. "Surfer's Song" and "Catapult" really take off, supercharged, the latter's main riff played as if Ned's Atomic Dustbin were covering "Come Home" (this is a good thing). On both, Booth resolutely sings of the necessity of self-expression. And "Move Down South" continues the triumphant pace with a big expansive stomper. The closing title track is a pleasant enough number but reverts to the more safe James sound, a slight disappointment after the forward-sounding songs of the late middle of the album. (www.wearejames.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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