One of the UK’s most creatively restless and most loved bands James have released their brand new album ‘Living In Extraordinary Times’ today via Infectious/BMG. The album is produced by Mercury and Brit Award winner Charlie Andrew (whose previous work includes alt-J and Wolf Alice) and rising star Beni Giles and is the band’s 15th studio album.
‘Living In Extraordinary Times’ follows the release of their recent Better Than That EP, the band’s first new music since their hugely successful 2016 album ‘Girl at the End of the World’, which debuted at number two in the UK album charts (second only to Adele – their highest debut entry in nearly twenty years). Delivering the same vigor and urgency as its predecessors, a fusion of social commentary and personal reflection, covering everything from the current political climate in America to more personal topics such as parenthood, in the heartfelt ‘Coming Home (Pt. 2)’ which features keyboards from long-time collaborator Brian Eno.
Vocalist Tim Booth said: “We knew something was up when Leicester city won the league then Brexit, then Trump. It is as if we’d slipped into an alternate reality, a Philip K Dick reality. We are living in extraordinary times.” The album started life during jam sessions at Sheffield’s Yellow Arch Studios and finished recording at Iguana Studios in Brixton. Beni was already working with the band on creating a new rhythmical approach when Charlie joined the project after being blown away by the band live. “This album is full of big tunes,” Andrew states. “Tim and the guys are all very good at writing huge hooks. There’s some really big, energetic tracks and some nice, chilled ones. There’s some monstrous tracks, like ‘Hank’, which is just vast with layers and layers of drums.”
The striking album artwork was created by contemporary artist and former Vivienne Westwood designer Magnus Gjoen. Gjoen draws inspiration from street and pop art aesthetics, juxtaposing them with fine art. His work challenges preconceived notions of objects, exploring the stark contrast between power and fragility – something which is potentially extremely destructive can be made into beautiful yet fragile objects of art, tying in with the themes of the album by exploring the space between politics and tranquility.
Last month, the band released a live video for “Hank,” filmed live at Victoria Theatre Halifax, it is a perfect example of the passion and emotion that drives the bands live performances. It sees them in fine form and typically outspoken, with Tim signing of “White fascists in the white house/More beetroot in your Russian stew” and “A jester prancing like a fool/In jest digest the monster/This president’s a dangerous tool“.
James are one of the UK’s most creatively restless and most loved artists. After signing to Factory Records in 1982, the band went on to release a series of successful hit singles. From ‘Sit Down’ to ‘She’s A Star’, ‘Laid’, ‘Come Home’, ‘Moving On to ‘Nothing But Love’ their uniquely diverse sound spans over 14 studio albums released over three decades, achieving both critical and commercial success whilst also curating a base of dedicated fans and selling over 25 million albums worldwide, playing shows across the globe and cementing their status as one of the most iconic live British bands. 2016 saw the release of Girl at the End of the World, their most commercially and critically successful album for nearly twenty years.