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James - The Night Before

2010-07-01 10:40
The Night Before

That's not to say there are not moments worth witnessing in this album that delves (as Tim Booth tends to) into the dark side of an adulthood in which the inner child is a bit of a problem child.

"Porcupine" is what happens when rock bands who actually know how to write lyrics go to therapy. "It's Hot" (inside the chrysalis) reflects on leaps of faith and other healing that hurts. "10 Below" tells the story of a childhood that wasn't the making, rather the breaking of many little boys. And "Crazy" doesn’t want to bore you with the details of their story...but it may. Shine takes on self-destructive addictive and sexual behaviour and Lee Baker’s hand in production adds a consistency that makes it all stick together.

In other words, it’s more of an album than a stab at radio play, and more contemporary than it is "adult".

Which is fine – boys should grow up, and "be true to themselves", as the saying goes among Idols' winners. But young people are more fun for a reason. Unless you’re a fan who just can’t get enough of them, rather go for their recent collection of singles – Fresh as a Daisy.

James have lost the raw (yet post-graduate) passion that made them so cool in the '90s. Tim Booth - whose songwriting talent and slightly sneering vocals are still the band’s engine and fuel - struck out with some solo stuff, like the oddball but awesome Bone (2004), but this band has become a dignifiedly adult contemporary version of their younger selves.

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