“Last night we literally brought down the house,” says James’ Bassist, Jim Glennie, referring to a small ceiling collapse during a performance at New York’s Irving Plaza. “It was great.” But it really wasn’t anything new for the British alternative rockers, who are best known for their hypnotic but raucous live performances. James’ new hit album, Laid (as in “Did you get Laid?”), is also causing quite a commotion.
Produced by music guru Brian Eno, Laid ranges from moody introspection (“Out to Get You”) to staccato elation (“Say Something”) and is slightly reminiscent of another Eno production, U2’s The Unforgettable Fire. “We’ve known Brian for a long time,” says Glennie. “He’s a genius. He’s like a laser, so precise.” With the title track now on MTV’s Buzz Bin, James, which has been together for more than a decade, is endearing itself to an audience as diverse as its music. “In Toronto it’s young girls,” says lead singer Tim Booth. “And in Montreal it’s artists and intellectuals. We’re like the Talking Heads – they were considered artsy until pop fans came along.” But diversity, as well as perseverance, has proved to be the group’s strong suit: “Everyone told us to quit,” Glennie admits. “We had one 15-minute lapse of faith where we considered it, but we were just too f—ing passionate about the music,” A philosophical Booth pipes in, “And you know, the longer you wait, the bigger you think you’ll be.”