Review: James – Living In Extraordinary Times
California resident Tim Booth watched Donald Trump’s rise with horror, and though some might choose to hide their dissent, he piles in provocatively on his band’s 15th album. “White fascists in the White House,” he announces on the bitterly distorted Hank, adding even more pointed lines, such as “Black lives matter/ Shoot on sight”. Not that James is obsessed with the USA’s orange embarrassment, as the potent opening trio of tracks underlines. Coming Home (Pt. 2) returns to the sound of early hit, Come Home, while Leviathan advises: “Before they drop the bomb/ Make sure we get enough/ Fucking love”. But when not rejecting calls for a border wall on the muted Many Faces, there are relentless bursts of rhythmic fury matching thoughtful, sometimes enigmatic, sometimes enraged lyrics, especially on the catchy Better Than That and Extraordinary Times’ huge introduction. Heads pulls the fewest punches, though: “Don’t believe in the American Dream”. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary albums.
Written by Wyndham Wallace. Released on BMG Rights.