Hmmm. This one got me in a right old tizz, so it did. Y'see, Mr James really ought to be spelling his first name with a Y, ala Swedish popstrel Robyn, so girly like is his voice. It's all rather disconcerting and means he drops straight into the love/hate dichotomy. However, the one thing he has in his favour is the ability to write raw, naked and emotional songs. So you may want to give him a chance.
Apparently, the album was recorded in about ten minutes down Hackney way, which isn't that surprising as it's just him and his guitar. Factor in all the distractions that Hackney had to offer when I were a lad, and you'll understand why no-one would want to hang about in the Toe Rag Studios for too long. He did it the old fashioned way, with one microphone, straight on to tape. So there is none of that digital malarkey going on here. Mr Autotune will have to earn his keep elsewhere.
All of which means the open wounds that make up his songs are even more in your face. Something you'd better prepare yourself for, if you're going to dive into his John Martyn meets Roy Harper style of songsmithery. However, if you're any kind of anti-depressant, you may want to seek medical advice before letting yourself be immersed in the worlds conjured up by 'Postcard', 'Going Blind' and 'Alive That's All'. And under no circumstances listen to 'Go To The Water', unless you've got someone to restrain you from making that particular trip.
The 30 minutes seem much longer, but not in a bad way. No, it's the sheer weight of what, superficially, seem like lightweight songs. The words drag you in, give you a good beating, then throw you out on the street like a crack broken hoor.