Yummy by James – Album Review

james yummy album review (1)

By Victoria Holdsworth

This 18th studio album from Manchester icons, James, splashes yet more musical colours on their already bold canvas. It has all the usual familiarities of their classic themes, set to a slightly more diverse soundtrack, making this album a standout in their discography. Produced by Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker, Jon Hopkins, Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor) and mixed by Cenzo Townsend (Courteeners, The Specials, Everything Everything), those credits should have any listener excited by the prospect.

Yummy opens with an instant anthem, ‘Is This Love?’, the unmistakable tones flooding through the opening bars, starkly contrasting with the blunt but melodic vocals of  Tim Booth. Cleverly crafted, with some soaring James hooks, it is, in fact, the album’s jewel in the crown.

‘Life Is A Fuc*ing Miracle’, brings in some subtle retro electro beats, giving it an 80s vibe, Booth’s societal commentary and insight coming to the forefront as he instructs every listener on just how precious every waking moment is. Take note of his words, and make them your own. Having taken some criticism in the past for attempts to blend electro/dance flavours into their sound, here’s the moment James finally crack it.

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James, 2024
image: Paul Dixon

“Captures beauty”

‘Better With You’ continues with the up tempo electronics, with a disco undercurrent, lulling you into a false sense of security before plunging you down the roller-coaster into the next track, ‘Stay’, which has a gorgeous, weary sounding vocal surrounded by restrained musical backing, that captures beauty in places, changing every time you listen to it.

‘Shadow of a Giant’ is another great track, that will propel you into a nostalgic frame of mind. Simple and not dissimilar to the works of Richard Hawley, and while you listen, the song and its message flouris and grows into something truly remarkable.

‘Way Over Your Head’ is reflective, enlightening and very progressive. A pure demonstration of genuine music as art, while ‘Mobile God’, has the makings of being a festival favourite with some poptastic, barbarous lyrical waxings from Booth. While this track back references to the James of an older era, you can tell just how much they have matured – angst replaced by wisdom. Gone is the strutting peacock of their earlier recordings, replaced by a soaring eagle of sound few other bands can or will achieve.

Next track, ‘Our World’, has a palpable staccato hook driving it forwards, as Tim’s words warn us about the familiar tale of unstoppable rise in globalisation, holding a great atmosphere to amplify its ominous messages.

james yummy album review (3)“Provoking”

‘Rogue’ is poetic brilliance, with Booth acknowledging his advancing years – and for those of us who have grown up alongside the band, we also recognise our own.

Yummy as an album could send you down some rabbit holes you never knew existed – and the closing three tracks are celestial, provoking and defiant.

‘Hey’ is an inquisition into the existence of UFOs and conspiracy theories, which perhaps could be seen as a little self indulgent on Booth’s part, but this is a real statement piece of a track. ‘Butterfly’ shows more of a sense of escapism in the sound production, with fierce melancholic melodies encapsulating provoking lyrics. It ends on ‘Folks’, which is as bleak and challenging a song as the band have released: “Folks it’s time to go/ Death’s a fixture/ Go and kiss her”.

So, James – same as they ever were, only better. Ageing beatifully, lyrically superior, tonally rich.

It’s more delicious than yummy.


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