Top positive review
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A mighty comeback album
on 7 April 2008
Wow what a comeback album this is, I encourage all James fans, old and new to investigate....
One of the best James songs ever written. The starting of the song is very similar to the like of Laid album/The Lake stylistics but explodes into a very beautiful passionate song which seems to be about a new born life with a great future. Just a brilliant opening track. transferred from live performance to record seamlessly. You will be singing 'I'm alive' for months. Uplifting stuff! 10/10
It may be 16 years on but the song Mother is still a haunting track and Hey Ma is no different lyrically, but it is a very uplifting song musically which contrasts so well with the deep lyrics being sung about 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan and particularly about consequences of your actions. This sort of shows the best and worst of Tim's voice, there is a point where he sings 'coming home' in a kind of a strained way yet somehow im transported back in time to the early 90s in other places. Strange, but great, pointed lyrics. 9/10
This could probably the succesor to Say Something, my feeling on this song is that it is wonderful but at times the production is too heavy and almost sags under its own weight like the latest Manics album does. There are parts I love to this song such as the lovely verse guitars and backing vocals in the chorus and the chanted verse is particularly wonderful. The 'Im so cynical bit' is the part I think goes over the top perhaps for me. Again the underlying feeling of Laid but production values of Seven 8.5/10
Oh My Heart
Very anthemic in a Booth and The Bad Angel meets Seven kind of way, I read a review which says an 'old-school' James anthem. I can hear U2 in the guitar as well which puts me back to the Seven album. There is something about it that doesn't win me over in the same way the previous songs did, but the fact that I'm giving the first four tracks at least 8/10 bodes very well for the rest of the album. The fact that there is loads of guitar in this track is great and is as far away from Pleased To Meet You as my bloody football team winning the title! This could really soar live as well a real out-there number. 8/10
A song which at first didn't really grab me and thought was not fantastic. However it started getting ingrained in my head and for days I had the melody in my head. It has a dominant trumpet line. This is a song similar to Were Going To Miss You lyrically in terms of hitting back at the critics of the band who had written them off. It is quite a dark melancholic song with an orchestral ending. 7/10
A very beautiful slow number about a man who has hit a woman realising what he's done. 'But its too late for sorry' Fantastic echoey guitar and bass with some fantastic lyrics. The slowest song on the album which allows pause for reflection for what we've heard already. 8/10
First aired at least a year ago at some of the gigs last year. It is the one song I'm truly disappointed with, it doesn't really do anything for me. It's about immigrants being away from their loved ones. For some reason it doesn't work for me, I think it is in the arrangement somewhere and the chorus also doesn't work for me. Not what I was expecting. A bit of a mess. 5/10.
I love this track, it's the most fun and uplifting track since laid. This really is the 'old-school' James track I had been looking for, a mile away from the poor 'What Is It Good For' et al the whole song is what sums James up for me; fun, slightly goofy, uplifting, estoric, catch as fcuk particularly love the way the 2nd verse explodes into the 'Wanna talk to me Whiteboy' 2nd chorus just whisks you away! 9/10
A song about religion and brings up strong imagery of suicide bombers. The darkest song on the record although ironically a little funky with a dark electronic backdrop and rythmn section. The chorus of WAR will be ingrained in your head immediately. 7.5/10
Of Monsters Heroes and Men
This song is based on an extended poem full of imagery. This was played love at the September Hoxton shows. It's an interesting song that builds up to a kind-of mantra at the end with Andy's trumpet kind of taking over the song. Again it doesn't have much of an effect of me compared to what has gone before. 6/10
I Wanna Go Home
This is brilliant. A wonderful yearning song, although a bit too short. It is about a guy in a bar full of remorse, dying of a remorse. A fantastic closing track with effects coming in and out and builds to a crescendo of 'I wanna go home right now', awe-inspiring and I can personally identify with the lyrics as well. I just wish it could have gone on longer. 10/10
Child To Burn (Itunes Deluxe track)
This is an extremely beautiful Wah Wah/Laid style track with slide guitar, and Tim in falsetto most of the time. Extremely atmospheric. 9/10
A totally fantastic album overall, miles better than the last two albums. It sounds totally 'together' and everything hangs together well. Apart from one or two flawed songs, mainly in terms of arrangements this contains some of the best James songs ever written. Yes it possibly lacks anthems in a 'singles' way, however it is closer to Laid in spirit in terms of lyrics and some of the music. There are moments of a bigger sound, with A Seven-esque production value namely Oh My Heart and Waterfall. This is now my 3rd favourite James album, and only Laid and Whiplash better this one. In terms of a comeback album this is so much more than I and James fans could have hoped for. Ignore those stupid reviews that give this 1 and 2 stars they obviously can't hear the beauty within. Dream Thrum score. 8/10 - a mighty album.