James – ‘La Petite Mort’ (BMG Chrysalis/Cooking Vinyl)
First things first – am I the only one to see the pun in the album title? Tim Booth has spoken about how the death of both his mother and his best friend in quick succession influenced this album – although it is actually an incredibly uplifting song. But interestingly, La Petite Mort is also a French euphemism for orgasm.
But it’s not a smutty euphemism, nor is it a miserable album. The jaw-dropping video for ‘Moving On’ – entirely constructed of string gives an insight into how James are still firing on all cylinders this far into their career. Sure, they took a break for six years in the last decade, but when they reformed, they were both amazing live and and on record. Whilst some bands reform for the money, James seem to be doing it for their art and making new music that adds to their already impressive legacy (Blondie, I hope you’re taking note).
And the opening three song salvo of ‘Walk Like You,’ ‘Curse Curs’ and ‘Moving On’ is a pretty amazing run. Ever since the CD player made it easier for people to simply skip through album tracks and the download age made it easier for people to just cherry pick the songs they wanted, that really counts for something. It’s a record that not only holds up well against their first post-reformation album Hey Ma but also against the early run of albums in the nineties that included Gold Mother, Seven and Laid.
Long may they run.
La Petite Mort is released on June 2 on BMG Chrysalis/Cooking Vinyl