Better Than That EP by James – Review
Better Than That EP by James
by Victoria Holdsworth
I will be the first to admit I came to the ‘James party’ a long time after the initial hype about them had died down. Over the years, and countless gigs later, I have warmed to them more and more… and like most people, I was desperate to hear some new stuff, and here it is!
The band have always produced great songs, with evocative and thought provoking lyrics at times – and they know how to write an anthem or two – but what I admire most about James, is their ability to embrace change and run with it.
“Bold tribal beats”
The opening title track is a tip of the hat to the ‘classic’ James sounds and has some remarkably progressive bass lines running throughout, which adds an unrelenting drive to the sound. Mixed with the unmistakable, elevated vocals of Tim Booth, some grooved out guitars and a catchy chorus, the track is something very special indeed.
In direct contrast to the first track, ‘Busted’ is melancholic and its laboured pace is interspersed with some avant garde trumpeting from Andy Diagram. Perhaps a step too far, even for the most ardent of fans. I appreciate their moxie, though.
‘Hank’ is completely different again – and much more appealing – with some bold tribal beats and fuzzed out distortion to the vocals and guitar work, which makes it a pretty weighty offering, full of unflinching statements from Mr. Booth about the state of society we are living in now.
The final track is called ‘Broken By Hurt’, and we have returned back to the original sound again, albeit on a more downbeat level. It is another darkly-tinged track, but will drag you in with the James feel it possesses – it’s a truly beautiful song. Tim’s vocals, again, evoke true emotion in every word that he sings through the pop-like melodies that weave through the piece.
All in all, ‘Better Than That’, hhighlights a more diverse side to the band, and I am intrigued to see how these transfigure into a live performance, and for once I am genuinely excited about the future of James.
The ‘Better Than That’ EP is available on 10” record and download, and the CD is available exclusively from the band’s website