Living In Extraordinary Times feel like James at their most relaxed with each other for a long time, allowing the producers Charlie and Beni to help shape and influence the songs in the way they did with Brian Eno. Unafraid to experiment and refusing to be silenced on things that matter to them, the record reflects their restless spirit more so than any they’ve created since Laid. There’s moments that will appeal to the more casual fan (and tellingly these have been chosen as the singles – Better That That, Coming Home Part 2 and Many Faces) which prove that they still have it in them to create songs of mass connection, but as always it’s where they step out of their comfort zone and try something different that they’re at their most vital. Songs like Leviathan, Extraordinary Times and Hank push the envelope and challenge the listener to immerse themselves in the way the band do themselves and explain why thirty six years in James are still surprising and delighting people.
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