Review : James - The Morning After The Night Before
PopmattersEarlier this year I had the fortunate opportunity to review the James EP The Night Before. It was a pretty good little EP, but it did not feel like one of James’ greatest achievements. A sequel EP was promised, appropriately named The Morning After, and how the two would complement one another was anyone’s guess. In the back of my mind I guess I knew that a final decision shouldn’t be made until all of the songs were present and accounted for. Context, we tend to forget, can be a strong variable for our enjoyment. Sometimes music sounds better when it’s cranked up loud. Food can taste better when you are eating it with a friend. Watching a comedy with a room full of laughing people can make the whole experience funnier. In a similar way, The Night Before sounds better now that The Morning After has arrived. Nothing’s really changed, just eight songs now filling in the rest of the puzzle.
These two EPs, which were released separately in the United Kingdom, have been packaged together stateside and compositely named The Morning After The Night Before. Even though it would have been easy to consolidate these two mini-albums to one CD, it’s presented as a double album meant to be digested in halves. This is somewhat refreshing since our current era of pop-rock is afraid to give people things in large quantities. Ten to 12 tracks, 40 to 45 minutes, is the norm and it has become kind of boring for me. Even if The Morning After The Night Before is unnecessarily sold as two pieces of plastic instead of one, I still relish in James’ generosity.
The music inside works within the parameters that the band set up in the past, where the songs’ choruses are as explosive as they are optimistic and ornamentation is a necessary part of James’ compositional architecture. What’s interesting about The Morning After The Night Before is how the same formula for 15 songs gives noticeably different results depending on which side of the fence the songs fall. The Night Before, strangely enough, is definitely the brighter of the two albums. Tim Booth lets us know that “it’s hot inside the chrysalis,” and judging from the band’s drive that uses all four beats of a bar to push their song forward, you don’t doubt him. “Dr. Hellier” is possibly the most futuristic the band has ever sounded. James has always been a band captured in the moment, from their Smiths pastiches of the early ‘80s to the baggy beats of the ‘90s that, for better or worse, linked them to the music scene of their hometown, Manchester. Yet the wordless chanting of “Dr. Hellier” is truly a heat-seeker of a hook, making past songs like “Laid” sound like another band entirely. “Hero” is a mile-high reminder to love your brother. “Crazy” is equally joyful: “I’m not crazy / I’m just laughing at myself.” Even the guys at NME should withhold the snarky cynicism....full text
IndielondonJAMES have announced details of a UK tour taking place in December 2010.
The seven dates, announced to coincide with the release of their The Night Before mini LP today (April 19), include two nights in London.
Fanclub members will have opportunity to purchase tickets from the exclusive fan pre-sale that takes place 48 hours before they’re released on general sale, or until the allocation is sold out, so don’t delay....full text
DaylifeThe Night Before, strangely enough, is definitely the brighter of the two albums. Tim Booth lets us know that “it’s hot inside the chrysalis,” and judging from the band’s drive that uses all four beats of a bar to push their song forward, you don’t...full text
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