This was James' second album, where the band had their original four man line up. It very different sound to that of their later and far more widely known efforts of the 1990s. This album has a very distinctive folksey style which is apparent on every single track. Although the sound is not as quite as delightfully full bodied as their more recent albums, it still has James written all over it.
The first track "What for" is an energetic upbeat opener, possibly the most commercial sounding song on the album and sets a high standard for the what follows. Happily this standard is kept up throughout the entire ablum, with an energy that keeps the listener constantly interested.
The second song, "Charlie Dance", is a real treat. A good tune, clear and very funny lyrics. For example the lines about cows, "Don't moo anymore but i'm sure they're not dead/Don't chew anymore but they're surely not dead."
Perhaps the best track of all is "Medieval", a song with a very strong political point about the Vietnam war. Tim Booth's voice is echoic, lucid and scornful all at the same time. The perfect singer for this kind of song. "Those men he thought were friends turned out to be the enemy".
The album is full of great lyrics, such as "I'm afraid to feel, so my life feels unreal" of the track "Are you ready"
Although this album may not be James' greatest effort, it is a constant delight to listen to. The lyrics are constantly intelligent, unorthodox, always ammusing and in places unashamedly political. The tunes are simple yet very effective, up-beat and full energy without undermining the profound message that some of the songs carry. All in all, it is a fantastically well crafted piece of work which will appeal to people unfamiliar with the band and hardened fans alike.