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James
The Morning After the Night Before - Mercury/UMe
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Kenny McGuane on September 3, 2010

 

With the renewed interest in the ’80s, Manchester, Joy Division, etc., it’s peculiar we don’t hear more about James. Though active long before, it wasn’t until 1992’s Seven and 1993’s Laid, the latter produced by Brian Eno, that the world—namely America—took notice of James. However, it seemed that it was too little too late. They’d peaked, and they’d soon again disappear from the charts. After a brief hiatus in the early 2000s, James have returned to deliver their second studio album in two years. Actually two mini-albums, The Morning After the Night Before finds the band sounding ageless and totally self-assured. The sound is big and it’s inspired. Frontman Tim Booth grapples with emotional instability and alienation, a lyrical content the band has layered over an appropriately modern and very British rock sound. One can’t help wishing, however, that the band would have released a proper full-length instead of an admittedly disjointed and ultimately less-than-ideal collection.

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