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james - 'All The Colours Of You' Album Review


1. Zero

2. All The Colours Of You

3. Recover

4. Beautiful Beaches

5. Wherever It Takes Us

6. Hush

7. Miss America

8. Getting Myself Into

9. Magic Bus

10. Isabella

11. XYST

Starting your new album with a song with the repeated refrain that we’re all going to die may be seen by some as a bad idea, for james it works incredibly well, the opening track, 'Zero', builds and builds to a crescendo, somehow that refrain becomes life affirming and positive. It’s a great opening song, experimental and interesting with Tim Booth delivering an excellent vocal performance.

Being so brave and challenging at the beginning of the record seems to inspire the band, second song, 'All The Colours Of You', has the brilliant line every time we’re through, your shit sticks to my shoe. At this point I was hooked and hoping they could keep up this high standard.

Confession time, james have always been a band I love but the last few years I’ve not enjoyed their output quite as much, it’s not quite matched up to songs like 'Born Of Frustration'. Don’t get me wrong, they have always made interesting, quality records, it’s just been a while since one of them hooked me quite as quickly or totally as this album. I almost felt taken back to my days of sitting on various disgusting night club floors while belting out 'Sit Down' (by no means their best song). I’m now wondering if I’ve been fair to some of their more recent albums and am planning to go back and listen to them again.

Enough about me though, you want to know if this album is any good, does it keep up the high standards set at the beginning? The answer is emphatically yes. This is no longer the Indie Rock james of their early career, there are a variety of different genres and soundscapes on offer, with there being no weak link.

A lot of the songs seems to hint at relationships challenged or even damaged by the extraordinary times we are living in, I only wish I’d had this soundtrack earlier in lockdown, some of the songs seems to be speaking directly to feelings I’ve had and emotions that have impacted me.

The quietest song, the almost ballad like, 'Miss America' feels like both a state of the nation and a lament for how lady democracy has let itself be taken advantage of by the previous president of the US and the general focus on guns and celebrities.

Standouts for me are 'XYST', 'Isabella', and 'Getting Myself Into' but there genuinely isn’t a song on here I didn’t enjoy, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that.

This is an album that doesn’t just impact you on an emotional level, it also makes you want to dance, to sway to it, to sing along.

This is a band on top of their game, they have also been a quality live act, this album should sound excellent when we finally get back to gigs

Go buy, download or do whatever you need to do to listen to this album, it’s worth the effort. Personally I think I will invest in a vinyl copy.

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Review - Iain McClay


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