Release Date: 07.02.01
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
Meeting Old Friends
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent
Finally, after a few years walking in the wilderness, James are once again effortlessly churning out the sort of addictive tunes that get heads swaying and toes tapping. The material on Pleased To Meet You has the same qualities as the string of magnificent hits that launched them to the top during the first half of the 90s.
They try to gloss over the cliche smash hit "Sit Down" these days, but even if we forget the stereotypes it afforded them, who can forget "Come Home," "Shes A Star" and "Laid"? However, once the early success was nicely packaged onto the 1998 Best Of collection, things seemed to go quiet from the Manchester band.
The last album, Millionaires, disappointed, as did last years live appearances. But Pleased To Meet You introduces James to us once again, returning to an album of melodic quality instead of just the one or two standout tracks on Millionaires.
The first single, "Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)" is good, but not half as impressive as "Junkie," which swipes at pop "Pokemon" culture, and "Pleased To Meet You" itself, which whispers its way up to a breathtaking explosion of guitars in a cracking finale. Also out to impress is "Senorita," "Give It Away" and "Falling Down," all of which help to make the 11th James album one which will remind fans that they are not simply going through the motions of rock stardom, but that they genuinely have fresh ideas to offer.
And talking of fresh ideas, the cover for Pleased To Meet You is as good as any I have seen in the last few years. At first it looks like its just the black and white face of a weary man wearing a tie. But look further. This is a computer-generated image compiled of the facial features of all the seven band members, with singer Tim Booth lending his nose to the new face of the band. Its an inspired cover, totally at home on an album of inspirational music.
Made with legendary producer, Brian Eno, this is an album which has the work of big names injected into it and many of the songs were tested out on loyal audiences during a tour of low key venues in late 2000. Once the tour had finished, the band went straight into the studio with Eno and this is the result.
It's not just another James album, it breaks the monontony and gives them a new lease of life, one which they may have thought they would never get in this changing world of musical markets. 12-Dec-2001 10:45 AM