James – Le Petite Mort

I have been a massive fan of James since I first brought ‘Village Fire’ on vinyl and grown with the band ever since, their Alton Towers gig being one of those moments I will never forget in my life, I’ve goose bumps now remembering the elongated version of Gold Mother that night. But even as a fan if I’m honest I’ve not been able to connect with the last few releases but I can say hand on heart that has changed with ‘Le Petite Mort’ their 14th studio album. I hate using the phrase a ‘return to glory’ but that is just what this is, ten new classic James songs and not just that, these are some of the best since their early heyday. It’s all here the anthems, the ballads, the dance elements, the violins, the pianos, the trumpets and of course Tim’s unique and affective voice sounding as strong as ever. ‘You know more than you think you know, the universe is in your eyes, inside galaxies collide’ Tim sings on 7 minute opener ‘Walk Like You’ it’s a brilliant start to the record announcing that the band are back with big ideas but in a reflective mood that continues throughout. The main reason for this is the songs are a reaction to the loss of Tim’s mother and one of his closest friends and because of this the album deals lyrically with death, re-birth, life, memories and love but at no point is it ever maudlin it’s a joyous expression of sound and feelings even in the face of adversity with ‘Moving On’, ‘All In My Mind’ and ‘Quicken the Dead’ all great examples. Only ‘Bitter Virtue’ and ‘All I’m Saying’ slow the pace slightly but both are still great. Very high end production from Max Dingel (Killers. Muse, White Lies) suits the band and keeps all their instruments in check so it never gets muddy but always sounds clean and clear allowing all the elements to shine equally which ultimately helps create their distinctive sound. The album closes with ‘All I’m Saying’ ending with the lines ‘I’m missing you and the world you opened up to view, I love you, see you next time’ not only does this bookend the album perfectly it is also a sentiment that applies to how I feel about the band and their thirty year career. So even though they’re a band felling loss and pain they should also remember just how many people their music has and will touch long after they themselves have moved on.

le petite mort

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1 Response to James – Le Petite Mort

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