James All The Colours Of You: New albums breaks emotional boundaries | Music | Entertainment

James can make you laugh, dance and punch the air as well as weep. There is intelligence at work here and enough pleasure that on first hearing you barely notice Tim Booth’s heartfelt bombardment of agitprop. Many of the numbers have stings in their tale. The title track is sprightly and propulsive indie pop that packs an anti-racist punch. “Love all the colours,” sings Booth. “All the colours of you.”

And the toe-tapping vibe of Beautiful Beaches contrasts starkly with the subject matter – the terrifying wildfires that spread up the US west coast last year. Bradford-born California resident Booth takes pot shots at the US too.

Miss America is a gentle lament for the decline of the country and its liberal values.

Recover, the saddest of these 11 songs – dealing as it does with the sad Covid death of Tim’s father-in-law – is more about legacy than mourning, with the singer pledging “we will remember to pass your spirit on”. The album – brilliantly produced by Garret “Jacknife” Lee – is awash with exotic soundscapes, emotion and joyous singalongs.

Tempo varies throughout.

Opener Zero begins at such a slow pace, you fear it might come to a full stop at any moment. Instead, it builds in beautiful, compulsive intensity.

Wherever It Takes You has a trippy percussive vibe, with another heavenly chorus and middle eight.

There’s the upbeat dance pop of Magic Bus, the lush sweep of Isabella, the Middle Eastern feel of Hush, and the closing dreamy sway of XYST. Madchester lives!

Those feeling the breath of sadness, or touched by madness, should sit down next to James? and ask Alexa to pump up the volume.





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