Reviews Zone

James: Yummy (Virgin Music) 12th April 2024…


* Album Of The Month [April] *



5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



Tim Booth has one of the most distinctive voices in British contemporary music, and on his band James’ new album “Yummy”, he is in his vocal prime – sounding as chilled and comfortable in his own skin with these songs and this job, as a man who has been fronting a ‘national-treasure’ band for nigh on 42 years. Oh hang on, he has been…

Yummy, out today (12th April), is the band’s 18th studio album since they formed in Manchester in 1982, dropping debut album “Stutter” in ’86. Their smash hit “Sit Down” and the likes of “Come Home”, “Laid” and “She’s A Star” rocketed them to stardom and global touring to huge audiences. James packed it in 2001 and took a hiatus until 2007, and have been back doing their thing ever since.

They are still filling arenas after four decades and still selling plenty of units, having retained their loyal fanbase by never compromising on quality or class of what they put out on record – and there will not be a dent in that standing in any way, with the release of this well crafted new album. It is up there with the best of  their back catalogue. Tim’s lyrical content across these dozen cuts is as on point and as credible as anything he has put his name to across his career.

Tim Booth’s partners in crime in James are Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, Adrian Oxaal, David Baynton-Power, Mark Hunter, Andy Diagram, Chloe Alper and Deborah Knox-Hewson.

Confession time: James were never on my radar as regards music I’d buy and listen to – apart from their indelibly etched classic, “Sit Down”, which is a timeless and beautiful piece of pop songwriting. Not on my radar until…..I caught them when they headlined a festival I was covering. Live they were stunningly good. Mr Booth is a real showman, and just as good a singer as he is on the band’s records. Often not the case for many singers who benefit from – and need – technical help in the studio.

  • Tim, Jim, Saul and Mark will be signing copies of the new album to celebrate the release, instore across three locations over the next few days. James perform an exclusive sold out warm-up show at O2 Academy Bournemouth on 29th May, then head out on their biggest ever UK tour in June, culminating at the O2 Arena in London, the first time the band have played the 20,000 capacity venue. The tour support is Razorlight. Tour dates can be seen at the bottom of the page.

The new album was produced by Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker, Jon Hopkins, Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor) and mixed by Cenzo Townsend (Courteeners, The Specials, Everything Everything). The album artwork has been directed and designed by Studio Fury, whose previous work includes the campaign for the latest Rolling Stones album, “Hackney Diamonds.”

“Yummy” is familiar James, but also maybe a tad adventurous. “You’d think I’d be wise from all these lives,” Tim jokes on track nine, “Rogue”, referencing his experiences with past life regression therapy. The opening track, “Is This Love” , blends cutting edge synthetics into organic James anthems.

All dozen tracks offer up an even listen across the record, and I’ve not found one to skip as yet, after a good few spins. Standouts for me are “Life’s A Fucking Miracle”,  the love song “Better With You” and the longest track of the set; the six-minutes of “Shadow Of A Giant”, which is almost worth the admittance fee alone. “Mobile God” is decent as is the most upbeat track, “Hey”, and the charming “Butterfly” with its lovely vocal harmonies.

I’ll avoid cliched use of the album’s title, as I am sure many other reviewers may well milk that to death. My closing thoughts borrow the title and chorus from the aforementioned James classic. “Oh sit down, Oh sit down, sit down next to me….” and have a listen to what’s currently playing loudly in the Morgan household, and then tell me this review is not accurate!

  • Yummy is available as a download, CD, deluxe CD and a few vinyl versions. The deluxe CD, titled “Pudding”, comes with 12 additional tracks: Outtakes, demos and jams.

STOP PRESS: “Yummy is # 1 in the UK album chart – as of Friday 19th April 2024 – a week after release.



Words: Alex Morgan



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