I'm not a big classical buff, I would barely know a concerto from a sonata, but am thoroughly enjoying this album. Conceptually divided as a 'wake up' or bullets first disk, and a gentle 'going to sleep' lullabies on the second, the album is nicely put together and flows along at an enjoyable tempo depending on your mood and which disk you decide to put on.
I find James' playing easy to listen to, however I couldn't comment from a position of comparing him to many other pianists. Having seen him play live, there is showmanship about him, and this definitely comes through on the CD. He is passionate about the music, however doesn't appear to want that to influence him as an individual, or how he goes about his work. This may well upset those of a more critical nature, however it makes him as a musician more accessible as a human being, and his approach is refreshing, and comes across as sincere.
I think we'll be hearing lots more from James in the future, I think the contemporary presentation of the artwork and sleeve notes etc. is more of an indication of James' personality than a marketing ploy. All that aside, I love the pieces and the playing so it's 5 stars from me.