Friday, April 11, 2008

Hey Ma! The New James Album, Hey Ma, Finally Arrived!

It FINALLY arrived in the mail today, and within seconds the mailing envelope was ripped to shreds, and the new James CD, Hey Ma, was spinning on my laptop.

The wait was worth it.

This new album by James sound less studio-y, and more rough around the edges. A nice, and welcome, change of pace for this awesome band out of Britain. While Millionaires (1999) and Pleased to Meet You (2001) were good albums with some amazing songs, they weren’t quite James albums, if that makes any sense. James’ reformation last year after a few years off seems to have reinvigorated the band.

Hey Ma is comprised of 11 songs. The opening song, Bubbles, is just amazing. It starts similar to Out to Get You (from Laid), but leaves behind the slow build for a faster beat. “I’m alive”, Tim Booth sings, a statement meant to imply that James never went away, but only rested for a while, maybe? The title track is an anti-war song, a territory James has been in before (Mother, from Gold Mother). This time, however, though the lyrics reflect the sadness of loss associated with any war, the music is upbeat and hopeful. Whiteboy is a fun rocker, along the lines of Laid. A fun song that never gets old.

Other great songs are Boom Boom (a slap at critics, perhaps?), Semaphore (an Out to Get You like sound...simply gorgeous), Of Monsters & Heroes & Men and I Wanna Go Home.

Two songs, Waterfall and Upside are the two weaker ones on the disc, but not horrible songs by any stretch of the imagination.

If you like James, you will definitely dig this new release. Overall, it’s an album similar to Laid (my favorite album by this band, and one of my top 5 albums of all time) in it’s presentation and style. Though not nearly as strong as Laid, Hey Ma is a very welcome addition to the James family of releases. If you’re in the United States, you’ll have to order it (I used or see if your local record shop can order it for you. James does not have a distributor deal in the US, so you have to get their music imported these days. It’s too bad because they are far better than a great majority of bands/singers who find their way to US radio.

Just like REM seems to have found new life after a couple of years off and using a new producer, James too has come back strong after some time off. James, it’s really cool to have you back. I would someday love to see you live.

I would also love to find a girl in Maine who wants to come over and listen to James with me! I’m not sure that girl exists in Maine…seems nobody’s heard of James up he-yah. Boo hoo for me.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Mason... Yes, this new James "HEY MA" is an excellent CD. So worth the long wait and I hope to see another release soon as well hoping to see them come to Philadelphia or anywhere close. We love you Tim, Andy, and the rest.
Hope you're able to share a song or two with your fans, Mason, to let the them know we're not kidding about this album! My favorite track is "I Wanna Go Home" which seems to make me just turn around and not head to work each morning! Keep up the good work, Mason. (and I hope you find that cool chic to share the CD with!)
SteveR in Philly

5:06 PM  
Blogger TFKoP said...

Yo SteveR - yeah, I'm digging this James album, and even more so now that I've been able to give some more spins.

Took me a bit to realize that the producer, Lee "Muddy" Baker, was the same guy who produced Tim Booth's solo album 'Bone'.

Also, this lineup of James is the same lineup as the 'Laid' album.

It's just great. I like great.

peace, brotha....TFKoP

8:22 AM  

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