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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come again?
Do critics have it in for James?

A New Musical Express review for 'Millionaires' (a five star effort if ever there was one) described it as "not bad, not good, just deathly, endlessly average". The next album, 'Pleased To Meet You' was described by Andre Paine, in another NME review, as "a snort-worthy event" (Mr. Paine actually wrote that any artist releasing...
Published 12 months ago by Dingleberry

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed by this album
I'm a big James fan but I won't lie, I was disappointed by this album. Many songs rely on a pulsing bass drum throughout which works for a while but eventually leaves you wanting something else to happen, for it all to let loose. Thankfully we get a glimpse of that with "Moving On" and "All I'm Saying", the latter ends with the line "see you next...
Published 2 months ago by Andrew Spong


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come again?, 2 Jun. 2014
By 
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Do critics have it in for James?

A New Musical Express review for 'Millionaires' (a five star effort if ever there was one) described it as "not bad, not good, just deathly, endlessly average". The next album, 'Pleased To Meet You' was described by Andre Paine, in another NME review, as "a snort-worthy event" (Mr. Paine actually wrote that any artist releasing an 11th studio album deserves this reaction - so I guess he's not a fan of Bob Dylan, David Bowie or The Rolling Stones, to name but three).

'La Petite Mort' has been streaming on The Independent's web site for a few days now and the first reviews are being posted on anydecentmusic dot com. "Diffused with an over-eager commercial charge" writes Mojo magazine. What could that possibly mean? That James shouldn't enjoy making music? That they shouldn't aim to shift some units? No matter what they do, it seems as if James just can't win. The best antidote I can give to all this bile is to say that if you've liked most of what James have done in the past then you will find much to enjoy this time around.

That being said, when I first heard 'Frozen Britain' I wasn't that impressed. It's a song that couldn't be anyone else but, maybe for that reason, it left me somewhat underwhelmed. It was only when I saw the video of the acoustic version of 'Interrogation' that my ears perked up. It's one of the outstanding tracks here, one of the best tracks the band have ever made and would perhaps have been a better introduction to the album. I've since warmed to 'Frozen Britain' but prefer the songs where James stretch what they do into other areas. Tracks such as 'Curse Curse' and 'Gone Baby Gone' are dance music James style, they pull them off convincingly and both are also high points of the album.

Opener 'Walk Like You' runs through three different phases before its end. Like the sound of a flute, the use of a fiddle in any song usually has me skipping to the next one but its addition here, in the last minute or so, is an inspired choice and takes things to a new level. I wish that section of the song was longer.

The final two tracks, 'Quicken The Dead' and 'All I'm Saying' are also standout tracks and round out the album nicely. After 'The Morning After' seemed to just peter out it's good to find that 'La Petite Mort' stays strong until its end.

James sometimes remind me of Depeche Mode's Martin Gore. They both have an ability to write some of the most twee lyrics you'll ever hear while belting them out in the most unabashed, over-earnest manner. Somehow Depeche Mode get away with it but, for some reason, it's a little harder to swallow coming from James. In the middle of some of my favourites come some real clunkers - "We learn to walk like you, talk like you, ooo-bee-doo", "One 1000, two 1000, three 1000" (etc), and "Love, love, love, love, love, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah". I generally don't care what people sing in songs but the vocals are so clear and upfront here that it's like hitting a speed bump at 70 mph - hard to ignore. On the other hand, maybe James retain a childlike joy that ignores self-judgement and enables them to just go with their first thought without question (if so, I envy them).

In the same way (and my only other quibble) three of the songs end in an unnaturally abrupt fashion. They just stop. At first I thought there was a problem with the Soundcloud stream I was listening to but no, that's how they are.

So, it's not perfect (things rarely are) but 'La Petite Mort' is a welcome next step for James. They sound full of life and creativity and Tim Booth is still in possession of one heck of a great voice.

Yes, critics do seem to have a problem with this band (clearly I have some small complaints myself but nothing like the venom coming out of NME). Maybe they sound just too damn happy sometimes and express too many damn feelings the rest of the time for cool or curmudgeonly reviewers. But if you kind of like being happy and dancing around occasionally and also don't mind having some feelings now and then, you will probably enjoy the new album by James.

Update, June 19th: In the end the NME didn't review 'La Petite Mort', something for which I am, and I'm sure the band are, truly grateful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Magnificent Seven rise again, 3 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
“Welcome to our coming of age.” A line from the opening song of this stunning album pretty much tells us where James are at right now. They have come of age and sound so at ease with what they are doing, the album plays out with a mixture of anthemic and reflective tunes. There are so many good tracks on this album, “Moving on” was a great choice for a single, Andy Diagram's trumpeting transforms this tune from being brilliant to being better than brilliant and it received the air play it deserved. 'Curse Curse' is a bit of a dance tune and is not very James, it definitely feels like a guilty pleasure track, I know I shouldn't really be liking it but you do end up loving it. 'Gone Baby Gone' is a clever mix of electronic sounds and guitar and will have you singing along after only a couple of listens. 'Frozen Britain', another upbeat track, this is probably one of the strongest tracks vocally and definitely has the classic James catchy chorus. A welcome respite comes in the form of 'Bitter Virtue', this is a lovely dreamy song that takes you away and will deliver you to a state of serenity if you let it. After a couple of Okay songs, the closing track is simply exquisite and a fitting end to a fine album. It is amazing when you think that this band has been around since 1982, Booth's vocals now are better than they've ever been and the music they churn out still entertains, inspires and amazes. How many other bands of similar age can do that? This is what makes James unique.
“See you next time” sings Tim Booth at the very end. We will see you, and on this form, the sooner the better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Prove Class Is Permanent As, Like Fine Wine, They Improve With Age, 3 Jun. 2014
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
James don't make bad albums.They make good albums and excellent albums. La Petite Mort is an excellent album. In Tim Booth they have an lyricist who isn't scared to delve deep into his own life and to write honestly about the more emotional aspects of life. On this album he addresses the issue of death head on with intelligence and beauty. His singing is better than ever as he delivers each lyric with emotion and passion. But don't let the subject matter let you think that this is a morose album. The music is uplifting, beautifully played and well produced. Violin and trumpet add colour to the brilliant bass lines from Jim Glennie and the amazing rhythms created by the power house that is drummer David Baynton-Power. Larry Gott brings his usual sublime guitar work to make it all gel together so that what you hear is a band full of brilliant musicians playing at their peak to create emotional, heart felt music.
If you also want to see one of the best videos ever made then check out the amazing animation for the single Moving On. [...]
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A typical James album - first class!, 2 Jun. 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
James' first new album since 2008's 'Hey Ma' is a welcome return from the indie band who are long since renowned for making irresistibly quirky, upbeat music. This is a chance for those younger ones who might only be familiar with their signature hit 'Sit Down' (as performed recently on TV's 'The One Show') to hear more from a band which has always had their own style, but aren't just reliant on past glories.

'La Petite Mort' is an uplifting album, produced by Max Dingel (of The Killers, White Lies and several others), and although there are all the elements of what James has always had, this is a ultimately a modern dance album with an electric mix of stunning sounds. I have a feeling that this is going to be the one that will rocket them back into the charts.

Some of the real highlights on the album face up to the recent death of lead singer Tim Booth's mother and his best friend. The final track, 'All I'm Saying' was written about the latter, and is obviously very poignant. Given the circumstances, the general theme of this album is mortality and questions many of life's mysteries. A few of the other tracks could even rival Coldplay, and as big a fan as I am of the latter, James' latest release is far superior to the new Coldplay record.

It might be a bit early for me to say that 'La Petite Mort' is one of the best releases in James' thirty year history, but it is certainly an instantly enjoyable album that seems like it's going to have a certain timeless appeal. Above all, it is the evidence that these guys are still relevant in the music industry, and a sign that they are not going away anytime soon.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upbeat James at their amazing best, 2 Jun. 2014
By 
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Having already heard several tracks from this album I was none too bothered about putting it straight on the turntable, postponing my first listen until the following day.

Next morning I casually pressed play expecting nothing out of the ordinary but then got a very agreeable shock. The first track Walk Like You got off to a steady, lyrically compelling start, but as it built vibrantly to it's crescendo of high falsettos, warbling chords, jangling guitars and blaring trumpets, all of a sudden it was WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!

Fantastic, brilliant, amazing! I was hopping around our lounge like a demented dog - and I'm a 70y/o! By the end of WLY - all seven minutes of it - I was actually crying with joy and ecstacy, so thrilled to discover that James have somehow recaptured and canned everything I most adore about their upbeat sounds into one single track.

From there on all of the following tracks - including several I'd previously heard - took on a new, more intense cacophonic dimension that carried me along on a wave of euphoria all the way through to the end.

Doubtless in time I will come back down to accept a more measured, objective view of the album but for now there's no way I'm letting go of this wondrous, child-like feeling of awe and ecstacy!

James are back with a bang - with what could seriously turn out to be their best album yet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it - You'll love it, 3 Jun. 2014
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Any band at any time of their existence would love to create an album as good as this. For a band to create an album as good as this after 30 years is truly astonishing. With each listen it gets better and better. Great song writing, great lyrics & great production by Max Dingel ( The Killers, Muse , Goldfrapp ). If you only buy one album this year then buy this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning album - James at their very best, 3 Jun. 2014
By 
Stevie T (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
What can you say about a band that continues to provide stunning work after all these years? Lyrically it is as good as it gets. Songs like Curse Curse are destined to be yet another James anthem, then you get Moving on which is sung with such emotion yet is so uplifting. Having watched James in excess of 20 times I can honestly say that I am looking forward to seeing them again in November more than I ever have done before. If you are young enough to not really know much of the "old" James material then take a listen but be prepared to start buying their back catalogue! #leavealittlelighton
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again James have blown me away., 3 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Amazing, can James get any better, the answer is yes. this is a first class Album. You have to buy it to believe it. You will not be disappointed. enjoy James at their best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James at their best!, 30 July 2014
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
when my sister told me about the new James cd, I told her that it wasn't worth it as they had passed their artistic peak. A live concert and the purchase of 'la petite mort' made me eat my words, which could not have been further from the truth. La petite mort has been characterized as a return to form. And it truly is! I would call it a masterpiece in its genre, equal to some of their previous fab work! You have the standout, personal fav, tracks (walk like you, bitter virtue, moving on, frozen Britain...), but the rest of the album doesn't veer too far from the superb either. These are all anthemic pop/rock songs with complex beautiful melodies (amazing how a trumpet can add value to a song) and worthy genius lyrics that comment intelligently on topics like life, love and death. Tim is 54 years old and his voice hasn't wavered a bit. On the contrary, he remains one of the greatest vocalist ever (confirmed when you see them live). Really, I can't find a single reason why this shouldn't be part of anyone's cd collection. Go get it now and play it unremittingly and very loud. Oh, and if you want to see the best live concert ever, don't miss them when they are next in town!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave La Petite Mort on, 3 Jun. 2014
This review is from: La Petite Mort (Audio CD)
Maybe it's just my age, maybe I've been listening to music of late that just passes me by but this album has possessed me and won't let go.
It's James' most powerful album to date, full of emotion and dealing with growing up, sex and death in a beautiful way.
If you've been watching your kids grow up or watching loved ones die, you'll relate to this album.
Heaven forbid you might even just like it for the music.
If we have to wait another 6 years for another album like this then roll on 2020.
Buy it, play it, keep playing it. Oh yes, and leavealittlelighton.
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La Petite Mort [VINYL]
La Petite Mort [VINYL] by James (Vinyl - 2014)
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