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Album Review: James – The Morning After

3 min read

Formed way back in 1982, Brit-pop rockers James have enjoyed an almost 30 year career as one of the founders of Britain’s indie popularity. Having enjoyed their peak in the nineties, the band have created some remarkable records including Laid, Come Home and Sit Down.

After the bands April 2010 release of The Night Before, James are back less than 6 months later with a sturdy follow up titled, The Morning After.

James ~ The Morning AtferThe Morning After is an intense record of chilling tales of reality mixed amongst fictional masterpieces to create a truly astounding abridged record consisting of eight memorable pieces of melancholic indie at its best.

Got The Shakes is a story about a raging alcoholic realizing he has just beaten his wife in an almost begging for forgiveness plea. Metaphorically describing the drink as ‘thunder’, the vocals are rough in the most spectacular way as vocalist Tim Booth describes throughout the track “some people shouldn’t mess with the thunder”. Self confessing and guilt laden lines like “knuckles scrapped, please don’t blame me. Couldn’t hurt a fly, couldn’t hurt you” make for a haunting record opener.

The ensuing Dust Motes is sweet and delicate with a strong Americana meets Coldplay swoon combining a laid back melody and contrasting vocals. A gorgeous track, its boppy mid section alteration give the song a difference to the rest of the album. A rather light piano introduction to the track also make this a vulnerable and engaging addition to The Morning After.

Kaleidoscope is a sombre tale of bleak and wretched misunderstandings. With Booth’s vocals oozing with anguish and a richness that feels preserved from the bands early days, the song tells the story of a man suspecting his wife of having an affair, recounting erased emails and mysterious phone calls. The song takes a swift turn in its final seconds with the realization of the mystery man in fact being her doctor who has just explained that she has cancer. The song is utterly immaculate yet depressing in the most thought provoking and sincere ways.

Further down the album, Lookaway carries the record onto more resentful pastures with an epic backdrop blending strings, a heavy, yet far from intimidating beat and steel string guitar to create an inspirational and solid piece of indie pop. The lyrics are deep and mournful on Lookaway “All that really mattered – you weren’t in the building when the walls came crashing down” is honest yet bittersweet and scorned while the line “Act my age in an age of indifference” is unavailing.

Earlier in the year, the Manchester formed indie outfit released a small collection of tracks on a mini record titled The Night Before. Proving to be a popular release, particularly among the bands dedicated cult following as well as becoming a critical success, the band took the record out on the road with a small number of performances around the UK including several slots in some of the large summer festivals. Following The Night Before, The Morning After sees its release ahead of the bands forthcoming The Morning After The Night Before US tour.

The Morning After further extends the Mancunian rockers catalogue with a collection of eight tracks that demonstrates an ever evolving critical and commercially fruitful act at the top of their game. The bands tightness after such a lengthy career as well as the songwriting abilities that form records like this are what make James a remarkable act who make outstanding records.

The Morning After is many things; It’s chilling in its lyrical delivery, cinematic and epic in its musical contribution to a genre that relishes such releases and thought provoking in its topical conveyance. An achievement in its own right.

Buy ‘James – The Morning After’ from Amazon