Booth sings with confidence and vigor, the band providing both slippery grooves and explosive crescendos as second nature. Of particular note is Glennie and Baynton-Power’s continued strength as a sonic unit. They are a criminally underappreciated rhythm section, having anchored all of the classic James releases and theirs is an intuitive and unobtrusive foundation that, if removed, would render all else to rubble. James in 2018 is alive and well and coming for your children.8/10
The latest release from British pop band James, Living in Extraordinary Times, takes the band’s familiar up-tempo, romantic spirit and mixes in a fair amount of grit and anxiety courtesy of life in 2018. The album’s songs are infused with anger, frustration, disillusionment, and sadness, but also have their share of hope, romance and idealism injected to keep the whole affair from dragging you down. Ultimately, this is an energetic, impassioned output from a band that does not nearly sound as “old” as you might expect them to on their 16th album release.8/10
James makes a protest album that outdoes their peers in the socio-commentary department and shows us how engaging non-guitar centric rock music should sound. Living In Extraordinary Times is one of those career defining albums that rarely come along these days, especially for a rock band given to this kind of statement. The album dealing with the big subjects, ones we often don’t want, or sometimes can no longer confront with the vigor we need to. James stares them down with a confidence and straightforwardness that belies that which is required of any rock band, but is most welcome, and appreciated.99%
Fifteen albums down, James boast an extensive career and back catalogue, yet are still releasing fresh material that’s just as good (if not better) than their previous releases. We’re truly living in extraordinary times and with the release of their ‘Better Than That’ EP and ‘Living In Extraordinary Times’ this year, it’s certainly a wonderful time to be a James fan!88%
Living in Extraordinary Times, their fifteenth release, is the best work they’ve released since Laid, and – as much as it pains me to do so – I really have to thank Donald J. Trump for turning the band into indie rock protest singers.
When I was growing up, James were cool. James were so cool. Their lyrics eulogised the female orgasm, while necessitating a break from “the beat of the concrete” and the burning of the capitalist detritus of modern life….despite the death of the indie guitar music they pioneered and the NME that propelled it, James is still producing music.3/5
For the most part there always seems to be a lot going on. But you’ve got to admire James for continuing to be confident in its approach over three decades on. This is a band at full steam, defying the reunion narrative of bands just cashing in.4/5
More than 30 years after their first release, the Mancunian Brit-pop favourites have continuously evolved to remain as relevant as ever.8/10
But having formed back in 1982, and featuring members well into their 50s, how long can they keep up their reputation as British treasures? They can’t do it again, can they? Turns out they can; Living In Extraordinary Times is even better than the previous two records, and one of this treasured group’s finest albums.
Living in Extraordinary Times is an extraordinary record from an extraordinary band. Who after 36 years together, still manage to making relevant, exciting records. Unbelievably, this latest album may be their best. So far …4/5
This is a band that understands dynamics, and how make a song engaging, so they are already better than many of the other pretenders out there. Oftentimes, anger spills out of the pop on this album, but it doesn’t feel out of place at all.4/5
And there’s the dilemma. Do they rely on old tricks, or try to reinvent the wheel? There’s a little too much of the latter for this album to truly work.