How can it be possible that it has been thirty-six years (!) since the band, James, took root?  It seems wholly improbable when you consider how fresh and relevant they sound, and with their 15th new album, Living In Extraordinary Times, out on the 3rd August, they are still completely James in every sense yet still so contemporary and accessible.

The band is currently playing festivals throughout August in the UK and then travel to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in November before returning to the UK for four dates in December for a short tour with The Charlatans. They show little sign of slowing down and remain deeply loved and adored.

What struck me as I made my way through some of the new songs was that they have lost nothing in their efficacy over the years.  A portion of the new songs are indeed politically charged and based on the fractures of thinking and resolve that we all are experiencing now during such tumultuous times.  That is often the role of musicians, to reflect the state of things at certain junctures.  Equally, however, there are most assuredly songs in the album which emote and capture the human condition at which James has always excelled.

Further, their musicianship just cannot be faulted and when you add to that to the always stellar lyricism, their whole aura creates such mastery.  Frontman Tim Booth wholly engages with the content they produce and is totally committed in a way other artists just seem to be phoning it in a bit at times.  Their songs are indicative of their approach to life as well as being artists. They believe in the broad-minded perception and that translates directly in their songs; open, fresh, meaningful, clarifying and almost soothing at times.

Just the salve of comfort we all need at a time when life has become so abrasive and challenging.


Catch James on tour here


Photos by ©PremiumPhotographic

George Millington