James has been known for some good albums in the field of alternative/progressive rock. Sadly, this isn’t going to be one of them.
The album is quite okay, but not great by any standards. Quite a few of the songs actually start off giving the impression that this band is trying out a new sound, but that feeling fades away mid-way through the song. This is best exemplified in the opening track "Space", which starts off with a RadioHead feel but just drifts off later. A few of their other songs are decent, hum-along numbers but quite obviously meant for mass public appeal rather than quality listeners. "Alaskan Pipeline" is my favourite piece; and this is exactly how I would like vocalist Booth to sound like on the rest of the album - soothing and impressive. Apart from this one, "The Shining" and "Getting Away From It" are the better numbers. The worst song has to be "Falling Down", which is marred by some truly miserable screeching vocals.
This album was quite a let-down, because these guys have obviously chosen to go with what sells, rather than with what should sell. Pity.This article was first published on 27 Sep 2001.