Release Date: Aug 3, 2018
Record label: Infectious
"Hello, surprise" Tim Booth and co. sang on their Millionaires album almost 20 years ago and with Living In Extraordinary Times they continue to play with our expectations both sonically and melodically. The band have always been ones to experiment but they should be applauded for going against the entropy of repeating successful formulas so enticing in any ongoing endeavor.
Living in Extraordinary Times is a title that echoes Superchunk's galvanizing 2018 album, What a Time to Be Alive, and if James couldn't be further apart from that venerable North Carolina indie rock band, one thing is for certain: these two veteran alt-rock bands are both taking stock of the political unrest of 2018 while adhering to their own idiosyncratic aesthetic. Being one of the most idiosyncratic bands in modern rock history, this means Living in Extraordinary Times is plenty quirky, even if James address the Trumpian turmoil in a direct fashion that speaks both to their inherent grandiosity and Tim Booth's allergy to metaphors. Booth raves about "fake news" on "Heads," one of the many explicit allusions to meme double-speak and other modern plagues scattered throughout the album, but even if his words are foregrounded, they're overwhelmed by the sheets of sounds and surplus of ideas teeming throughout the album.