"Produced by Max Dingel (Killers. Muse, White Lies)" macht mich nervös!
"La Petite Mort" steht seit heute als CD oder Doppel-LP (180g, inklusive Download) im Plattenladen.
The aforementioned Moving On rushes with a brilliantly memorable chorus and is an anthem for those wishing to shed their skin or wriggle free from emotional heartbreak. It is a stand-out blast of hopeful triumphalism.
Frozen Britain is coiled with the sort of arpeggio guitar riff that rocks the head back and forth with an instant pull; nagging and catchy. The politically inflected Interrogation steers away from any one-dimensional wan jingoistic pokes at the powers in charge. Instead, it is eloquently vocal at the wider environment and also inwardly at Booth's own self, and with scathing introspection too. The song throbs with a giddy hook of resignation and anger. The welcoming, warm gentle shuffle of Bitter Virtue could have comfortably sat (and held its own) on Dexys’ wonderful One Day I’m Going To Soar.
With a band as established as James, it is easy to compartmentalise their output in accordance with their own past. This does neither the band nor the audience any good. All it does is feed nostalgia and diminish the new through comparison with the old. Suffice to say, James have a long history of mixing commercial fruits whilst maintaining a degree of integrity. This easily continues that track record.
The title of La Petite Morte means 'the little death’. It is often used to describe the consequence of an undesired event occurring where a part of the individual’s soul dies. Maybe Booth and Co have exorcised this experience through Walk With You’s statement of intent, “Let’s inspire/Let’s inflame/Create art from our pain”. They have done all of this and more within the record’s 46 minute run time.
It’s wonderful to have James back and in such fine fettle. An album for the head, the heart and the soul.
The classic four chord sequences that have adorned such favourites as Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) are present and correct for the opening and closing tracks. The seven minute Walk Like You opens proceedings, an epic about life moulded by parents. The track builds in familiar crescendo style before a quiet break precedes a separate section where repeated lyrics build again, the song structured similar to English Beefcake from 2001’s largely overlooked belter Pleased To Meet You. It doesn’t quite explode though, Saul Davies’ violin led passage lacks some classic, frantic instrumental accompaniment and Andy Diagram’s trumpet sounds muffled and tagged on as an afterthought. For all its over production on the record, this brilliant track will explode in a live environment when Booth’s thrillingly erratic dancing is sure to appear.
Closer All I’m Saying is another to rival some of the classics – again, when played live it’s likely to be massive. This version, though, feels as if it’s lost some of its essence, particularly when a cacophony of sound should occur halfway through the song; the repetition of “oh oh oh oh oh oh oh” is instead then repeated by a guitar line before touches of muffled trumpet appear again. Frustratingly close to perfection.
Album pre-release Frozen Britain is another very good track, the catchy chorus of “Emily come to bed” excites despite the slightly subdued instrumentalism while first single Moving On also benefits from infectiousness, Jim Glennie’s twanging bass driving it on before the chorus attempts to reach familiar, anthemic heights. The brass touches again, though, sound watered down.
Curse Curse sounds like the band attempting to be something they’re not, with techno touches providing a rave feel; a TV is turned on to drown out sexual noises from next door, just as Messi shoots and scores at an appropriate moment in the Copa Del Rey– come on boys, Messi is so last year, it’s all about Bale now!
Interrogation is possibly the album’s strongest song despite being given away as a free download to subscribers to the band’s official mailing list: the trumpet sounds more authentic, a faster beat carries it forward through its sparse beginnings before the song builds into a spine tingling chorus.
A pounding bassline thuds out a rhythm during Gone Baby Gone but the song suffers from a lyrically simple, repetitive chorus; again it’s not a bad track, but the production holds something back as it all sounds toned down. The slow and turgid Bitter Virtue, though, falls short as probably the weakest song on the album reveals itself. A couple of piano led tracks take the album in a slightly different direction: firstly All In My Mind provides a mellow break. Rising and falling piano scales then adorn Quicken The Dead, the cut reminding of the title track from 1990’s Gold Mother.
Bookended with two (almost) James classics, the album’s probably better than expected, so it’s somewhat of a disappointment that the band haven’t been encouraged to recreate their main strength, the brilliant electricity generated by pulsating live shows as their music builds into euphoric peaks; too often, the production strips away the potential majesty. “See you next time”, sings Booth as All I’m Saying concludes. Yes, you will Tim. But sort out those over production issues and you’ll see a lot more of us too.