Their sixteenth studio album All The Colours Of You asks questions of the world around them, in their line of sight the mutation of the extraordinary times of their last album into social revolution, pandemic and personal loss, unafraid to challenge whilst pushing their playful side to the fore. Weird, but accessible, it’s possibly the most accurate snapshot of the real essence of James that they’ve ever released.
Producer Jacknife Lee’s mark is all over All The Colours Of You. They met, shared the demos, and set to work with the rest of the band contributing and directing from across the Atlantic. Elements of the record come from Jacknife taking those demos and smashing them to pieces and rebuilding, creating some very unusual and initially unnatural sounding structures.
Without the often stifling intensity of the studio environment the songs on All The Colours Of You are given the space to breathe, James relinquishing control to Jacknife and allowing his ideas to infiltrate and infuse the record in a way their search for absolute perfection has sometimes prevented their albums from reflecting the energy and risk-tasking adrenaline of their live shows. Circumstance has led to compromise in approach, but not to quality.
Like when Eno loosened those chains during the recording of Laid and Wah Wah, All The Colours Of You is perhaps the most Jamesian of James albums – an instinctive unplanned reaction to whatever chaos the world has thrown at the band. If you’re here to relive your youth, you’ve come to the wrong place. Perhaps All The Colours Of Us would have been a more appropriate title.
Even The Stars | David Brown