Review: Living In Extraordinary Times by James

Living In Extraordinary Times by JamesAs one of the many bands from the height of Britpop to have reunited in recent years, James is faced with the prospect of either trying to live in their past glories, or trying to move the needle musically. For the most part they’ve stuck with the former tactic, although their music tends to speak of the present in increasingly cathartic ways. So is the case with Living in Extraordinary Times, which continues to play the James template of going as big as possible. Perhaps the best example is the sort of title track: “Extraordinary Times” swells before it could peak. This means it could be difficult for anyone but the most devoted (or anyone with a lot of time) to get into the album. For the most part there always seems to be a lot going on. (That makes their more stripped back tracks – take “Backwards Glances” – all the more alluring.) But you’ve got to admire James for continuing to be confident in its approach over three decades on. This is a band at full steam, defying the reunion narrative of bands just cashing in. [NB]4/5