Their 16th studio album, but first produced by Jacknife Lee.
For a band who seemed on the verge of implosion during their Sit Down pomp, James have proved to be admirably indestructible. With singer Tim Booth residing in California, they’re bi-continental these days and with their 40th anniversary looming, they’re at a late-period peak. In Booth’s Topanga Canyon neighbour Jacknife Lee, they’ve found the man to give these big songs the big production they need, adding layers of richness, from the choir on Wherever It Takes Us to Hush’s techno pulse. Very much an Englishman abroad, Booth rails against Trump on the lockdown anthem title track and gets caught in a California firestorm on Beautiful Beaches. The centrepiece, though, is Recover, which details Booth’s father-in-law’s death from Covid-19: when, over the course of one heart-stopping verse, he charts a decline from sniffling to assisted breathing, it’s the most moving writing of his career.4/5 (80%)
Mojo | John Aizlewood