James The Campfire EPJames: The Campfire EP

(Virgin Music Label & Artists Services)

DL|Streaming and Limited Edition

Out Now

Manchester Legends James have just released The Campfire EP featuring 3 intimate tracks from the latest album and a classic fan favourite.

Announcing the EP, frontman Tim Booth says, “The beginning of the new James 9 piece began at Broughton Hall. The sessions there felt magical. Here is a slice of the magic that we created around a campfire one evening …”

The Campfire EP was filmed and recorded at the Stately Home, near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales earlier this year and features intimate, stripped back versions of Miss America; Recover and Magic Bus from the band’s 16th studio album, All The Colours Of You, alongside the timeless classic Just Like Fred Astaire, originally released on the the 1999 album Millionaires.

So what of the tracks? Miss America is first up, recorded (as you will have seen in the video) in the library rather than around the campfire. One of the more political tracks on the parent album, looking at the US’s damaged image using the allegory the pageants the former president once presented. The stripped back nature of this version with Booth’s gentle vocal at the fore, underpinned by Chloe Alper’s harmonies accompanied by delicate instrumentation lift the song to another level. It’s more reflective, and slightly mournful but a thing of beauty

Recover is next, a track Booth wrote dealing with the loss of his father in law, Saville Shela due to the pandemic in April 2020, whilst being separated by the Atlantic Ocean. As with the opening track it’s reflective but also apparent that the sense of loss is still exceptionally raw through the delivery. The way the singer delivers the questioning lines, “Will he get better? A cold. Will he get better? Just a chill, sore throat” are almost heartbreaking.

Magic Bus lifts the mood. The electronics of the album version are stripped away and replaced by a pounding, almost tribal drum beat. You can almost feel the flames and smell the smoke of the campfire. It’s an uplifting and imaginative reinvention.

Closing with Just Like Fred Astaire it, it feels like the joyous celebratory love song that it always should have been, but just missed on first time around. Not that there was too much wrong with the original. Booth’s vocals entwining with Alper’s give the song an added, occasional breathless emotion which almost leads you to punch the air.

Overall The Campfire EP is a triumph and I’m sure will be welcomed by the loyal James community. It takes you through a journey of emotions and showcases, if ever anyone was ever in doubt, just what a talented special band they are.

James will be performing at Arenas across the country with special guests Happy Mondays in November and December

NOVEMBER

Thu 25 LEEDS First Direct Arena
Fri 26 BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Sun 28 CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Tue 30 GLASGOW SSE Hydro

DECEMBER

Wed 01 DUBLIN 3 Arena
Fri 03 MANCHESTER Arena
Sat 04 LONDON Wembley Arena

You can follow James on Facebook and Twitter.

James The Campfire EP

All words by Iain Key. See his Author Profile here author’s archive or on Twitter as @iainkey.

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50 going on 30... Dad to McKenzi... Season Ticket for MUFC... Collector of Music... Enjoys writing, especially about Manchester bands / Factory Records... Favourite Music : Joy Division/New Order, Wedding Present, The Smiths, Northside, Fightmilk, The Fall, The Jam, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Billy Bragg, Beatles, World Of Twist, My Chemical Romance, James, Happy Mondays, Section 25, Working Mens Club.... so so many....

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