I bought the new James album, ‘Hey Ma’, yesterday and I have to confess to being a little surprised by it. Obviously, I didn’t expect it to be a complete bag of arse – I don’t buy records I suspect will be shite – but I wasn’t entirely certain if it would fit with their legacy. To these ears, it picks up where ‘Whiplash‘ left off, only a bit better. ‘Millionaires‘ was just a little bit too full of…well, just too full. And can you even remember what the album after that was called? Ha! Thought not. Read into that what you will.
‘Hey Ma‘ is a quality collection of songs with uncluttered guitar work and a knack for a nagging melody last heard when ‘She’s A Star’ took over my speakers for a month in 1997. Future single ‘Waterfall‘ will be a forthcoming single and ranks up there with the best stuff they’ve ever done.
James were always an infuriating band when it came to albums and, if I’m absolutely honest, their best album is the best of that came out in 1998. ‘Fresh As A Daisy’ had some merit in that it opened a few more ears to some cracking pop songs, but it was a completist cash-cow and its place in history is irrelevant. However, ‘Hey Ma’, while not earth-shattering, nor likely to suddenly make them stadium-shagging, sunglasses-indoors-wearing cockheads, is a mighty fine collection of songs that doesn’t provoke any fervent use of the skip button. Seriously. You’ll spot it easily enough in the shop, it looks like this:
Oh, it was ‘Pleased To Meet You’, by the way.