12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Typical James: slightly flawed magnificence.,
This review is from: Hey Ma (Audio CD)
This is a very good album and I believe I am well qualified to speak on the subject.
Here are the facts. James are a great band. This album contains 7 wonderful songs and 4 unmemorable fillers.
We have been here before though, over the past 20 years I have awaited many James albums with baited breath and so I know what to expect. James are prone to watering down their albums with some genuinely uninspiring self-indulgent tunes. On Hey Ma, they all appear together in the middle. "Oh My Heart" & "Semaphore" would shame a B-sides compilation by The Feeling and are total deadweight. "Boom Boom" is actually James at their worst as they manage to create the horrendous hell that sounds like Coldplay meets The Smiths. Apparently these tracks were chosen from over 120 others...The mind boggles. Anyway, forget all that, there are 7 gems on this album which help you forgive the cardinal sin of mid-CD mediocrity. "Waterfall" is going to become a James live classic akin to "Sometimes", "White Boy" is a multi-layered mental fusion with some choice lyrics, Tim in self-deprecating mood is a good balance to some of the heavier semi-pretentious lyrics of "Upside Down". Tucked away at the end of the album is the token epic James slowy "Of Monsters, Heroes and Men". Like "Out to Get You", it is instantly addictive and should come over well in a live venue.
So how will this album be remembered? Well, it is a top class James album. Despite its weaknesses, it still makes so many of today's British guitar-based bands look like the paper-thin inadequate pretenders that they are. Nice job, don't forget that after seeing them live this weekend I will of course change my opinion about the middle 4 tracks.