When I was in college I had a mild obesseions with the music coming out of Britian (as evidenced by the numerous British tinged postings already). My friends and I just loved the music that they produced and would make sure to go to LA to catch whatever band made it across the pond. These were some of my all time favorite concerts. There just seemed to be an energy in the room that was lacking with the American bands of the the 1990's. No exception was the band James. I had the priviledge of seeing them at their height in 1994. They had just hit it big with the album LAID and the song "Laid" was all over radio. When I first heard this record I was amazed at the depth of the lyrics and the absolute conviction Tim Booth's singing brought to the recordings. Then I saw them live. Words cannot describe the atmosphere in the crowd and the energy the badn brought to the stage. I swear you could have heard a pin drop during "P.S." it was electric.
The band never had any real US success after that and stopped recording in 2001. but LAID is an incredible record and worth repeated listenings. Recorded with Brian Eno, LAID is a moody, eclectic work of art. "One of the Three" is a wonderous medidation on the nature of spirituality and religion. The layered vocals on "Five-O" create an orchestral feel with single voice. "Say Something" reaches epic heights as the guitars build and build to a climactic moment. Truly, there isn't a bad song on the album.
Shortly after the LAID album was released, the band released outtakes from the sessions called WAH WAH. A very experimental work, echoing alot of what U2 was doing right around the same time, it is much harder to digest. I have included two songs from those sessions that I think are great companions to LAID. It's a shame to see that this great band disappeared, but they left us a masterwork.
(zip) James -- Laid
(mp3) James -- Jam J (from Wah Wah)
(mp3) James -- Honest Joe (from Wah Wah)