Saturday 31 December 2016

My Favourite Albums of 2016: #22 James - Girl At The End Of The World

The Girl At The End Of The World is James’ 14th studio album. At this stage in their career you could quite easily expect them to adopt an 'if it ain’t broke don’t fix it' attitude. But then James have never been that sort of band. Even at their arena touring peak, they were a contrary bunch, following up the anthemic Seven with a largely acoustic based album (Laid) and then a collection of weird radio unfriendly experimentation (Wah Wah). With Girl At The End Of The World, hooky, wide-eyed songs are mainly back at the forefront  – typified by the glorious Nothing But Love, a tune that if you’re based in the UK you might have heard being sung by children as part of an advert for The National Lottery or on an advert for Amazon. However, James don’t play safe. There’s still a big sense of a band willing to experiment, try different sounds and styles, and managing to make something of merit. Somewhere along the course of this record you’ll find a slow weary synth pop tune that sounds like a distant cousin to Kylie, The Pet Shop Boys or Blancmange, a lip-curling, dirty, propulsive nod to the soundtrack to Peter Gunn, slide guitar riffs and a song that contains the chorus “Were you just born an asshole?” And that's just for starters.

Girl At The Of The World probably didn’t bring in many new fans to the fold, but it comes recommended by this old fan for featuring a number of great tunes and being an example of how it’s possible, even when you’ve been doing it for years, to still be full of ideas and be prepared to experiment. New bands take note.

James - Nothing But Love (Video)

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