For the better part of a decade, the English sextet James have followed their own muse with little regard for British music trends. Formed in Manchester, England in 1983, James transcended their position as England’s C86 progenitors, their hyper-strummed pop eventually giving way to a modern and mature folkadelia.
The new album ‘Whiplash’ (US release : February 25) displays the whole bandwith found in all of James work : the focused pop of ‘Laid’, the experimentation of ‘Wah Wah’ and the tragically beautiful arrangements found on Tim Booth’s recent release with Angelo Badalamenti.
The germ of Whiplash began in August 1994, with pencil sketch tracks recorded at David Baynton Power’s studio at Cafe Mullet. In the spring of 1995, sessions reconvened with Brian Eno for two weeks at Westside Studio in London and Windings studios in Wales. James spent this time rehearsing and fleshing out matters organically, with Eno encouraging the band to explore every possible avenue.
After the tracks ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Play Dead’ crystallised, producer Stephen Hague entered the picture. James spent January and February of 1996 recording the remainder of the album with Hague at Real World Studios and finished ‘Whiplash’ at RAK studio in London.
Contrary to the advance cassette, two tracks have title changes : ‘Whiplash’ is now titled ‘Play Dead’, while ‘Angel’ is called ‘Watering Hole’.
Tomorrow Play Dead Lost A Friend
Avalanche Waltzing Along Homeboy
She’s A Star Watering Hole Greenpeace
Blue Pastures Go To The Bank
produced by Stephen Hague, frequent interference and occasional co-production by Brian Eno
additional production by David Baynton-Power
mixed by Stephen Hague and Mike “Spike” Drake
engineered by Richard Norris
additional engineering by Steve Williams, David Baynton-Power and Mark Hunter, Sam Hardaker and James Brown
assisted by Graham and Alex at RAK, Jacqui at Real World and Dave Green at Westside
recorded at Rak, Real World, Cafe Mullet, Westside, The Windings
mixed at Rak Studios, London
mastered by Ian Cooper at Metropolis Mastering