“‘Seven’ is a substantial document that marks James out as one of the few bands around who are capable of framing the anxiety and apprehension of eternal adolescence. It is the sound of a band moving into a new phase – one with longetivity stamped all over it.”
Vox – February 1992
“James are ambitious, proud, moving, and unconvincingly self-important. ‘Seven’ is big, brash, unafraid, unashamed, but also miserable, paranoid and eccentric. Musically, ‘Seven’ is James at their most ambitious and diverse.’
Melody Maker – February 1992
“James were part of something, but now they’ve become one-offs. Intrigiung, difficult, unhinged at the fringes.”
Q – February 1992
James fifth album ‘Seven’ is released by Fontana on 17 February. The follow-up to the platinum ‘Gold Mother’ LP, ‘Seven’ sees the band continue to span a wide range of moods and messages. There’s the stark anti-war ‘Mother’, the electric waltz of ‘Protect Me’, the sensuous hothouse ‘Next Lover’ and the caustic commentary on Manc nightclubbing ‘Bring A Gun’ and of course, both top twenty hits, ‘Born of Frustration’ and ‘Sound’.
‘Seven’ was produced by Youth, who as Tim Booth explains had his own way of working – “Youth decorated the studio before we got there. There were Moroccan and Indian hangings on the walls, exotic carpets, enormous flower displays. There were no electric lights, just altar candles, though he got a strobe going for the fast songs. We cracked up with laughter when we first went in. But the crazy thing was it worked. It broke that studio sterility. There was Youth in the candlelit control room, barefoot with beads like a hippie guru&ldots;. it was the working vibe.”
James only UK show to promote the LP will be a huge open air gig at Alton Towers Leisure Park in Staffordshire on 4 July. Two major support acts will be announced shortly.
Since Tim Booth (vocals), Jim Glennie (bass), Larry Gott (guitar) and Gavin Whelan (drums) formed James in Manchester in 1983, their career has followed a chequered course.
Signed as awkward press darlings to Factory, they released two cult singles – ‘What’s The World’ (later to be covered by The Smiths) and ‘Hymn From A Village’. A major deal with Sire followed, resulting in two critically acclaimed albums ‘Stutter’ and ‘Strip Mine’. However, relations with the label were notoriously difficult and the group left in 1989 to reassess their future.
Whelan left the band to be replaced by drummer Dave Baynton-Power, injecting a harder edge to their sound and the group pursued an independent path once more, releasing a live album ‘One Man Clapping’ on Rough Trade.
Enjoying two of the biggest indie hits of 89 with ‘Sit Down’ and ‘Come Home’, James new found confidence saw them agree with Fontana.
Now expanded to a seven piece with multi-instrumentalist Saul Davies, keyboard player Mark Hunter and trumpeter Andy Diagram, the new look James finally achieved major chart success with their ‘Gold Mother’ album.
A string of top forty singles – ‘How Was It For You?’, ‘Come Home’ and ‘Lose Control’ – during 1990 set the way for their biggest hit to date when ‘Sit Down’ reached Number 2 in March 1991.
A full-length live video, filmed at one of the band’s two sell-out Manchester G-Mex shows, came out in April, entering the video charts at number one.
Now established as consistent hit makers, James had built up their following through a string of spectacular live shows, from two sellouts at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom to shows at Glastonbury, Maine Road (with Bowie) and Crystal Palace (with The Cure).
James t-shirts had become an essential fashion item and this was never plainer to see than when the group played their biggest show to date headlining the 1991 Reading Festival to a 40,000 capacity crowd.
The group’s commitment to live work continued when James embarked on a gruelling 28-date sellout tour of the UK at the end of 1991.
1992 will see James take their highly charged live show around the world, the first date being an open air gig in Union Square, San Francisco in February.
CATCH JAMES IN THE UK AT ALTON TOWERS IN JULY.