A sombre and more delicate James than ever before,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Morning After (Audio CD)This is the second of two mini-albums James released last year with the first being the aptly titled "The Night Before". Where that album found James churning out a familiar clutch of upbeat and intelligently crafted rock/pop songs "The Morning After" finds them in an altogether more delicate, sombre and experimental mood. Much like the notion of going clubbing and recovering from a hangover the next day so er, in essence this is the "hangover" LP. It could also be argued that due to how the band wrote this album it is remarkably similar to Wah Wah from 1994 but a great deal more focussed so don't let that comparison put you off.
I have heard that the band's plan was to tour "The Night Before" and then straight after head back into the studio to craft "The Morning After" with a deadline of only weeks. Allegedly, the band had most of the music written but vocalist Tim Booth set himself the task of constructing the lyrics during the recording sessions rather than having anything preconceived. An ambitious approach for any band really and refreshing in a world of "X Factor" and deeply contrived pop music.
The closest track resembling a "single" and indeed probably the most instrumentally lush song here is "Lookaway" - a good "in" for new listeners to the album and wouldn't have sounded out of place on one of their old Best Ofs. It was also one of the tracks the band streamed for free on Facebook back when the mini-album was announced. Other highlights I have found include "Dust Motes", "Rabbit Hole" and "Make For This City". Indeed, "Make For This City" is the band once again sounding vaguely U2-ish but minus the obvious pomp and ego of Bono and co. It's quite a reflective track of how modern city life can frequently wear people down; a hard assertion for anyone to disagree with in this day and age. "Tell Her I Said So" is also worth a mention as it blends guitars and a treated synthesizer line to retell (presumably) the final months of a person's life in a nursing home; sadly moving and the lyrics are excellent. "Fear" is the only track I don't really revisit much.
After six months of listening I feel comfortable giving this release a solid four stars. If you're after the bombastic and anthemic James of "Sit Down" or "Tomorrow" then beware that this is not that sort of album nor was intended to be. However if you're willing to look past the sparseness and more improvised approach while letting the album grow on you I think it will ultimately reward. The negative "I don't get it, it's boring" reviews I have read probably stem from some fans simply wanting James to regurgitate what they have done before I.e. anthems and memorable choruses.
They're too creative by half for that.