All the Colours of You by James – Album Review
By Victoria Holdsworth
“We’re all gonna die!” So begins All the Colours of You, the 16th (!) studio album from the minstrels of indie rock – and the mood is set. Themes throughout continue down musically enhanced paths and rivers of human emotion and life’s struggles, to political standpoints and questions, through grief and the shadow of Covid, from where the album emerged.
Tim Booth has never been an artist to shy away from addressing things others stay away from as the title track delivers a slap-in-the-face realisation of the damage that Trump and his abysmal legacy has left America. Repercussions of his actions continue to incite racial hatred, as Booth poignantly urges: “Love all the colours, all the colours of you”. It is a bona fide anthem – and one destined to become a festival favourite (as soon as we can start getting back out in the fields again)
“Finger on the pulse”
‘Beautiful Beaches’ is a stunning, stark, haunting tune which tells the story of the devastation the California wildfires had upon the area. Booth and his family were living there at the time, but his subsequent visions of earthquakes convinced him it was time for him and his kin to leave. “That life we left behind, we’re racing down to those beautiful beaches,” he sings. It really is a dramatic imagination-invoking song, which lingers with the listener.
The hardest song on the album to listen to is ‘Recover’, which deals with that most painful of emotions, grief. Written around the loss of Tim’s own father-in-law to Covid-19 during lockdown, its immaculate crafting alone is enough to bring a tear, let alone the subject matter.
The quirky ‘Miss America’ is told through the eyes of a beauty queen, about the disintegration of her country’s image. Booth nails it straight to the stars and stripes, and the imposing, poignant lyrics describe so much that has gone wrong with the country that she stands for. Very insightful, and some musical mastery front the Manchester massive.
A standout track is ‘Isabella’, with its deliciously gothic undertones and some electronic beats that would make Gary Numan blush, yet it manages to be another soul-rousing anthem.
All the Colours of You will take you on a rollercoaster of your head space, but you will come out the other side feeling uplifted and enlightened. Now, when are we gonna hear James bang these out loud and live?