When Manchester’s James began working on their third studio LP, Gold Mother, they made to a declaration — to go in for the kill. After almost a decade of success on England’s indie charts and countless gigs, they felt the time had come to go mainstream. So they released a single called “Sit Down” and sat back while the song shot its way up the charts, conquering the number one position in Britain for weeks-on-end.
“In one respect, we did expect it to happen,” says the band’s bass player Jim Glennie. “But when it did happen, it was still quite a shock. There was a lot of pressure building up, the last three singles before that had gotten into the top-40 in the U.K. So they were on the border of what’s classified as being a hit. There was this real audience participation thing that built up some mystique around the song. People were really interested in what was happening. So when it was released, if anything was going to break that deadlock, it was going to be ‘Sit Down.'”
Seven, James’ fourth album, is full of the same explosive, exquisitely crafted pop tunes that not only showcase the band’s new-found commercial appeal, but also provide insight into the rhythmic and musical strength the band inherited as a result of constant touring for Gold Mother. The growth is momentous.
“It’s difficult for me to put into words,” Glennie says. “I know it’s moved on. To my ears, it’s very different, but it’s hard to say exactly what those differences are. When we recorded Gold Mother, we weren’t quite sure of the parameters of the band. With this album, it’s three years later and it feels very much more whole. We’re very pleased with it.
“I hope there’s still a wide-range of emotions and different styles on it. It’s difficult for me to judge it, I’ve been so engrossed with it for the past year. I still love listening to it, I’ll put it on at home and I still get a buzz. Hopefully, people can judge for themselves what differences there are.”
So far, people seem to like what they’ve heard. James released “Sound” in England just before Christmas and that got to number 9. “We were really excited because we wanted to release something that said a little bit more about James than the ‘Sit Down’-style of song that we do — the kind of cheery, uplifting ones,” Glennie says. “We thought ‘Sound’ was a little bit harder.”
The band’s current single, “Born of Frustration” seems headed for the same fate in the states — and the band couldn’t be happier.
“It’s going to be a crazy year this year,” Glennie says. “We’ve got a ridiculously busy schedule, with a lot of time over here, which should be nice. We don’t want to sit back on our laurels. All we ever wanted to do was travel and play music for people. And it feels like now the opportunity is there. If success comes from that, then great, we’re not going to change what we do for different markets.”
“I wanna enjoy it, that’s my main goal for ’92. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. Maybe it’ll be 10 years, 5 years, or a year. I don’t know, I have no idea. It would be so easy to get sucked up in the pressure of it, in the chaos of it, in the business of it, and I don’t want to. This business could be a lot of pressure. It could go to your head. But you can have a great time too. It just has to do with your mental attitude. I wanna enjoy this. I think this can be a great few years…or it could be hell!”