(Planet Me)
Monday, June 16, 2014
JAMES La Petite Mort

What is music? What is the point of new music? Music reflects us now, and then. The journey between the last record and the next. Bands change, evolve. Life is an arrow, and it goes one way. Ever forward. Ever onward. Some bands stay forever, frozen in formaldehyde, never moving. Never changing. Others have nothing left to say, but say it anyway. The best? They reflect the things happening in our life, as we change, we grow, we become older, wiser, fatter, balder, we lose our parents, we no longer can change the world – only our world – and we make little victories in something as small and beautiful as a well made cake, or a perfectly crafted sentence.

We change. We become people and creatures we never thought we would be when we started. How could one think the band that James were in 1984 – a spiky four piece on Factory – would become what they are in 2014? Recognisably the same, yet utterly different, now a deluxe seven piece band with a sound as wide as an ocean. This, “La Petite Mort”, is their first full length album in six years, albeit interrupted by two mini albums in 2010. The sound is the same, holding steady, consistently made of intimate epics, of songs that start small, and end in huge dramatic proclamations of life, and love. From the opening moments of “Walk Like You”, to the closing “All I'm Saying”, it's an album made by people who should do, who need to, who want to, and there is never a second wasted, never a note unneccessary, and every song on there deserves to be, such as the beautiful and uplifting “Moving On”, and the instant classic of “Gone, Baby Gone.” What drips through this record, flows through it like water, is that it is about the core things we have in life : love, life, loss, of lovers, of friends, of parents. And what is life if it is not full of things worth keeping? Why live if not to enjoy the experience? La Petite Mort may be the little death, but also the big life.

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