James II is the second release by the band and their last on Factory Records.
7″ FAC 119 – If Things Were Perfect / Hymn From A Village
|Release Name:||James II EP|
|Release Date:||March 1985|
|Catalogue:||7" FAC 119|
James II was delayed almost twelve months due to Tim’s serious liver illness which almost cost him his life and the band’s own stifling high standards.
Intended as a double A-side single, it was Hymn From A Village that caught the attention of the music press and major record labels. James II hit number one in the indie charts boosted by support slots on The Smiths Meat Is Murder tour. This was despite the band’s reluctance to do any form of visual promotion outside of live concerts, even a NME cover shot was turned down.
The artwork for the single came from John Carroll, who was to form a long association with the band lasting through to the singles off the Seven album.
The single did start the band to doubt Factory’s ability to support them at the level that they wanted. Whilst on tour with The Smiths, the band would go into local indie stores and try and buy their own singles, but were often told that they were out of stock and would take weeks to order as Factory couldn’t meet demand. With hopes of greater success, James decided that they had to leave Factory in order to progress.
All the bands coming through at the moment see to be of a certain mould. BEAUTY is the thing to be possessed of and if you haven’t got it, fake it and bugger the sound you’re making – that can be faked too. That’s why James are so refreshing. So non-visual it hurts and makes it excessively difficult to find one of those easy nouns we journalists like attaching to the front of groups’ names. You know ‘funksters’, ‘popsters’, ‘long macsters’. The comparisons with Joy Division are glaringly obvious but they have a less doomy, more open-hearted feel and (ouch) energy.
Offbeat folk rock debut with nicely wonky sensibilities, this is James in the shadow of that ‘Morrissey’s favourite band tag’ but holding their own anyway.
Morrissey allegedly loves this group. I find that hard to believe, mainly because the credulity beyond endurance to imagine Morrissey taking his eyes away from the mirror long enough to love anything or anybody else. An energetically cranked-up performance with guitar, bassist, drums and vocalist all seriously overacting, the song repeatedly advises the listener “why don’t you read a book, it’s so much more worthwhile?” I wish I was reading one right now.
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