Album Review: James, "Seven"


Having resurrected their career with the anthem "Sit Down." Manchester's JAMES are now very much in the Big League, selling as many albums these days as they do T-shirts!  Their last album -- and first for new label Fontana -- Gold Mother did the business, and its follow-up hits the streets on the back of two chart singles, "Sound" and "Born of Frustration."

The singles set the scene for the rest of the material -- a big sound,  reminiscent at times of SIMPLE MINDS and even U2 (James are, are after all, rapidly becoming a stadium rock act, with their huge live following growing daily), backed with a sometime brass section, and a grand production, courtesy of Youth (ex-KILLING JOKE, now much-in-demand producer) on most of the tracks, with the band themselves, aided and abetted by Steve 'Barney' Chase, twiddling the knobs on the rest.


James has been around for quite a while, and, as a result, they are no slouches when it comes to writing both a good melody and being able to combine it with lyrics of some substance. Front-man Tim Booth is interested in literature and comes across as a very well read young man. "Born of Frustration,"  "Mother," "Seven," and the haunting "Don't Wait that Long"  are just some of the examples of his abilities to pen intelligent, meaningful lyrics.

Slow numbers such as "Next Lover" and the aforementioned "Mother" provide the album with it's more mellow moments, but the best tracks are the more uptempo compositions in the vein of the singles, such as ‘Live a Love of Life’  and the excellent title track, which is the album's killer cut and should be a huge hit!

The rise and rise of James looks set to continue to soar skywards, and it seems the days of obscurity are now firmly part of history! Impressive by anyone's standards!

B+

Nick Douglas
Riff Raff
April 1992


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