Mercury, 1999

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Best known for modern rock hits such as “Born Of Frustration” and “Laid,” James had hit a rough patch by the time this album came out. The band’s previous record, Whiplash, while decent, hadn’t hit the way it was hoped and the band retreated back to the studio to lick their wounds. They had lost their American contract and consequently, this record was only released in the U.K. and was available in America on import. Which is a damn shame because it’s an amazing record.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Joined by a new guitarist, Adrian Oxaal, James decided to strip back their sound from the overabundance of electronics heard on Whiplash. The result is an astounding piece of work. The opening track, “Crash,” is one of those great pop songs with killer melody that lodges itself in your head, begging for infinite repeat. The vocals and the music meld so well together that it makes the song feels like a massive improvement over the simplicity of “Laid.” “I Know What I’m Here For” is the type of song that would combat all the pop fatigue people were feeling in 1999 from the likes of Britney, LFO, and the Backstreet Boys.

The two most eye-opening moments of the album lie with “Hello” and “Surprise.” They are surely two of the most amazing songs James ever recorded, “Hello” is the type of breakup ballad dripping with regret and loss that sticks with you. “Surprise” is a beautiful song loaded with piano and great background vocals courtesy of the band. It’s probably one of the most beautiful tracks the band ever made.

“We’re Going To Miss You” is another one of those tracks seemingly full of loss, but the band’s musical ability lifts it out of the abyss to a field of optimism. Listening to this album, one gets the feeling of musical euphoria, a feeling that doesn’t come across all that often. All in all, this is a damn fine album that deserved its chance to be heard in America.

Rating: B+

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