JAMES are to release their “sweet 16th” studio album, All The Colours Of You, on June 4.
Billed as a “miraculous conception” by Clifford-born frontman Tim Booth, it was recorded in part before the Covid pandemic struck, with the Grammy award-winning Jacknife Lee on production duties with the Manchester band for the first time.
Lee has been at the desk previously for U2, REM, Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol and The Killers, and has brought a fresh approach to James’s sound. Working remotely from his studio, he liaised with vocalist Booth, his neighbour in Topanga Canyon, California, and bassist Jim Glennie in the Scottish Highlands, reimagining their demos and capturing the band in all their virtual glory.
“The result is a record with the most arena-ready and fresh tracks of their 38-year career; the sound of one of Britain’s best bands deconstructed and reassembled by one of the world’s most renowned producers,” proclaims the press release.
Booth says: “With all the s**t that went down in 2020, this was a miraculous conception and another big jump forward for us on the back of the last three albums. I hope it reflects the colours of these crazy times. Sweet sixteen is a proper album, no fillers and is up there with our best. With love, Tim.”
Glennie is pleased, proud and surprised by the record in equal measure. “Jacknife has pushed us and the songs somewhere new and it’s very exciting,” he says. “After all these years, we are still challenging ourselves and our fans. Enjoy.”
All The Colours Of You follows last December’s release of Live In Extraordinary Times, a live double album and DVD with a title twist on their 2018 studio set, Living In Extraordinary Times.
“As requested by many lovers of the band – a live DVD and album to capture the spirit of the gigs of the last few years,” said Booth at the time. “Hopefully, this will help us through the long nights of lockdown – reliving these gatherings of intimacy and passion. Thank you for coming along for the ride in the crazy world of James.”
All The Colours Of You will be James’s first album since being signed by joint managing directors Jim Chancellor and Mike Roe to Virgin Music Label & Artists Services, formerly Caroline International.
They have a new publishing home too in Kobalt Music, these changes “reinforcing the endless and restless ambition they have” as they approach their fourth decade as a band.
The track listing will be: ZERO; All The Colours Of You; Recover; Beautiful Beaches; Wherever It Takes Us; Hush; Miss America; Getting Myself Into; Magic Bus; Isabella and XYST.
From the first line on ZERO – “We’re all gonna die” – Booth addresses difficult subjects throughout the 11 tracks, with themes ranging from politics and climate change to dealing with the loss of a loved one during the pandemic.
Miss America examines that disunited country’s tarnished image through the eyes of a beauty pageant (“Miss America’s wearing thin, she’s all tiaras and glamour”), while Beautiful Beaches focuses on the fires that ravaged California and follows a vision Booth had of an earthquake that caused his family to flee for refuge (“That life we left behind, we’re racing down to those beautiful beaches”).
The title-track first single tackles the Trump years head on. Based in the USA for many years, Booth, 61, has witnessed at first hand the divisiveness and hatred stoked by the former President. Highlighting the sharp rise of white supremacy during Trump’s four years in office, the song nevertheless ultimately offers hope of a new and brighter future with the refrain “Love all the colours, all the colours of you”.
Recover, the album’s most poignant and delicate song, deals with the death of Tim’s father-in-law from Covid-19 in the UK. Uplifting and joyful in honouring a loved one’s legacy and spirit, it offers a celebration of life, not the sadness of death, affirming that “We will remember how to pass your spirit on”.
All The Colours Of You will be available in myriad formats: standard CD; D2C deluxe CD with bonus artwork, photos and pictures in a DVD hardback book package; standard LP; D2C deluxe LP on swirl coloured vinyl; D2C deluxe LP on picture-disc vinyl; indies and HMV deluxe LP on multi-coloured vinyl and even on cassette. Pre-orders can be made at: https://james.lnk.to/AllTheColoursOfYouSo.
James will open their seven-date 2021 tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on November 25, supported by fellow Manchester maverick institution Happy Mondays. “Soo looking forward to seeing you,” said Booth, when announcing the gigs last November on Twitter and at wearejames.com. “We’re playing with the brilliant Happy Mondays. Last played with them in 1988, hopefully this time they won’t steal our rider or try and spike my drink…”
The tour has sold faster than any previous James tour, chalking up 60,000 ticket sales for shows in Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester and London. Remaining tickets are available at: https://wearejames.com/live/
In the summer, James will headline the Saturday bill at Deer Shed Festival 11, confirmed to run from July 30 to August 1 at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk. “In light of the recent Government unlocking roadmap, we are now working flat out to bring you an amazing festival,” say the festival team, led by director Oliver Jones.
“We will bring you the maximum possible fun in July and that currently looks like a full fat Deer Shed 11. The safety of everyone in attendance will always come first, and should circumstances change, none of our audience will lose out.” Tickets are available at https://www.deershedfestival.com/tickets/.