‘All The Colours Of You’ by James- A Metaphorical Masterpiece

Heidi Flood June 4, 2021 0

James’ 16th studio album ‘All The Colours of You’ is like a piece of artwork in audible form. The band which have seen a 39 year career in the industry have demonstrated how you don’t have to be left in the past when it comes to creativity, as their most recent album still sounds like themselves but more evolved. Each song on the album is unique, from the storytelling to the accumulation of instruments; every part of each song is like the brushstroke of a painting, each layer added creating a fantastic outcome, with lead singer Tim Booth even reiterating this himself with the belief ‘We think we’ve made a masterpiece.’

Since their debut with ‘Sit Down’ in 1991, James have shown that they are not one to sound similar to anyone else. With a band that have been going for so long, it would be understandable that their music would begin to sound the same as their last release. However, ‘All The Colours of You’ has proved that they do not fit this mould. Discussing the immortality of James, Booth expresses ‘The truth is we felt we were built to last’ . James’ latest album proved they were built more to last but were built to grow and evolve. The exploration of sound and lyricism on this record is unbelievable- it leaves the listener in awe of where each song is to take you. It is impossible to compare ‘All The Colours Of You’ to the sound of any artist past or present as it is so unique. A song that reflects the distinct sound James have created on their latest album is ‘Wherever It Takes Us.’ It has an phenomenal beat (similar to ‘Magic Bus’) which you can imagine filling venues with such energy once the band are able to tour again. Coupled with this are Booth’s vocals that make the song so interesting as they are like an instrument themselves. They help to highlight the lyrics and bring them to life; the lyrics don’t necessarily make sense but again they are what make their music so incomparable. Lines such as ‘Words pour out of her mouth, bubblegum/like, like, like hieroglyphs’ are examples of what other artists would be too afraid to venture into, but James don’t just touch upon this frivolity, they immerse themselves in it.

‘The truth is we felt we were built to last.’

Although much of the album has a light-hearted sense to it, the band still encompass important topics such as climate change in ‘Beautiful Beaches’ to the Coronavirus in ‘Recover.’ This particular song is based upon the passing of Booth’s father-in-law to the virus. As Booth explains the reasoning for covering such issues he says, ‘I wouldn’t say I tempered the songs’ themes. You have to meet these things head-on.’ This explains why the band have such a breadth of themes within the album, whether that be implicit or explicitly. The personification of the Coronavirus in the line ‘There’s a thief of our breath’ shows the artistic ways in which James approach such difficult topics and ‘ZERO’ goes hand in hand with ‘Recover’ as it shows us the other side of the virus and how we should appreciate the element of time. Concealed amongst the repeated line ‘We’re all going to die’ the band try to reinforce a sense of hope into their listeners, during a period of time where it is lacking in so many people considerably. This is done through lyrics such as ‘Quit measuring time by money and youth’ and instead realise that time is only a concept- it can go as slow or as quick as you want it to. This is particularly poignant during this period of life as it seems time is the only thing that anyone has to focus on as everything has been stripped away from them. Therefore ‘ZERO’ reiterates that as time is what we are left with, we need to make the most out of it that we can, as some no longer have time like it is demonstrated on ‘Recover’ in the lyrics ‘The circus has now moved on, we will remember.’James often try to touch upon important issues affecting many and the pandemic is something that everyone can relate to. Though rather than making the whole record a gloomy and forlorn piece, dwelling on the negativity of the current state of the world, James try to inject a sense of optimism within their listener, through the vast energy of their music and the positivity interlaced within the lyricism of the album and Booth explains this intention when discussing the emotional song ‘Recover’ as he says the energy of the music they have produced ‘enables people to digest uncomfortable emotions in the lyrics.’

For a band that have been around for almost four decades, there seems to be no slowing down in terms of their popularity and the stories they have to tell, as ‘All The Colours of You’ demonstrates. James’ most recent tour of UK and Ireland arenas set for November and December this year has sold tickets quicker than any other tour the band have ever done. In fact, tickets have been growing more so each tour for the band and Tim adds ‘We’re selling more tickets than we did in the 1990s when we were meant to be famous.’ This shows just how powerful and undying the band’s music is, as it is generally unheard of for a band to become more popular- particularly as they have already reached such prevalence in the 90s. However their music is not only attracting fans from their ‘Sit Down’ and ‘Laid’ era but also fans who are only just discovering their music through the band’s explorations of recent times. This is bound to include ‘All The Colours of You’ for it is such a magnificent monument of what James have created in the land of music over the years and indicates they have many more avenues of this land to discover, picking up many more fans along the way for the ride on the ‘Magic Bus.’

‘All The Colours Of You’ is out now.

2021 UK and Ireland headline shows:

November

Thu 25 Leeds First Direct Arena
Fri 26 Birmingham Utilita Arena
Sun 28 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Tue 30 Glasgow SSE Hydro

December

Wed 01 Dublin 3 Arena
Fri 03 Manchester Arena (Sold Out)
Sat 04 London Wembley Arena

UK Festivals:

June

Thu 24 London Heritage Live @ Kenwood House

July

Fri 30 Glasgow Playground Weekender
Sat 31 Margate Dreamland

August

Sun 01 Derbyshire Y Not Festival
Sat 21 Devon Beautiful Days

September

Thu 02 Lancaster Highest Point Festival
Sat 04 Warrington Neighbourhood Weekender
Thu 11 Scarborough Open Air Theatre
Fri 17 Isle Of Wight Isle Of Wight Festival

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