James know all about the waiting game. After all, they’ve been playing for close to a decade now, waiting with patience for the world to recognise what they and their fans have known for years. James is a doorway through which you’ll find what you’ve been looking for. Sometimes it is achingly beautiful and, at other times, painfully real, and a little frightening. But no matter what, you’ll find it intermingled with the twists, turns and ramblings of the doorman, singer/lyricist Tim Booth, flanked on either side by the strumming duo of Jim Glennie and Larry Got, bass and guitars respectively.
James’ audience finally began to catch up in numbers to the band’s legendary reputation when “Sit Down” broke through the Madchester masses in 1996. “Sit Down” paved the way for stateside exposure and airplay with “Born of Frustration,” the magnificent single from last year’s album Seven. This year’s offering is Laid, due out in September. It is an album whose sound is a combination of the departure of Andy Diagram, horn-player and dress-wearer extraordinaire, and the experience of extensive touring with Neil Young, where James opened his shows with stunning acoustic sets. The acoustic experience is plentiful on Laid, which was produced under Brian Eno, in the studios of Peter Gabriel.
Larry Gott explains, “we went in with the intention of writing that [Laid], and we had other ideas as well.” They had six weeks to record the new album, so James welcomed Brian Eno’s suggestion that they use two studios to record simultaneously. That way, as Larry puts it, “there’s no hanging around – you’re doing two different things,” and, if there was a problem with recording one in one studio, they just worked on something else in the other studio.
The results, from Larry’s perspective, were incredible. After the six weeks were up, James had, in addition to the finished album, an extra album and a half of material, which will be released at a later date. Gott becomes very excited when he discusses this mode of recording. He is energised by the spontaneity, and amount of new material that was generated under the time spent with Eno. Not surprisingly, he looks forward to working with him again.
The tale of James is full of whispers tinged with rumour and murmurs of mythic proportions. From a band who was once known under the moniker Model Team International, boasting Tim Booth as a mascara-clad dancer, to the band you see before you today, laden with experience, full of optimism, and never jaded. Time has given James respect and, longevity. Laid will add on more of the same for those musicians, who dwell in brilliance and live in the realms of genius.