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Posted on June 16th, 2014 (8:00 am) by Travis Boyer

Success is hard to duplicate. You worked tirelessly to achieve your initial success and, guess what—the process must be repeated to stay on top of the heap. If not, back to the bottom you go.

British rock band James made it big on the charts in the '90s, their biggest hit being 1990's Gold Mother. Since their formation in 1982, the band has endured a six-year hiatus from 2000 to 2006 and churned out many albums since reuniting. However, James has spent time and effort into spitting out records in hopes that the saturation method would yield positive results.

The band’s thirteenth studio album, Le Petite Mort, is dreadfully boring, pop self indulgence. The nonsense that are the vocals overshadow any potential the record had for being remotely tolerable. The theatrics of a pompous vocalist weigh this record down, setting James up for a colossal fall.

No other track epitomizes the active disdain for this record than the opening seven-minute marathon known as “Walk Like You.” No one should aspire to sing like how Tim Booth rambles on here. The vocals become increasingly irritating as the song progresses. The chorus blathers on about not wanting to “walk like you…talk like you, etc,” before closing with the mumbling “whoop dee do.” Whoop dee do, indeed. The only aspects as uninspiring as the vocals are the swings between a light, operatic melody and the dark pits of the ambient beats. For as long as this song runs, there is room to roam melodically. However, it feels as though this one runs on to accommodate the vocal theatrics and palpable ego associated with them. The off-putting, bombastic nature of the vocals detracts from any potential for a good first impression.

“Curse Curse” follows up “Walk Like You” with a techno-pocalypse to end all hope for all who venture past the opening track. While not as grandiose as “Walk Like You,” it is a very close second in terms of irritating traits. A mess of manufactured beats that swirl around in artificial loops, this drunken haze cannot subside soon enough. A curse is to be laid upon this techno monstrosity for perpetuating the same pairing of mundane melodies. Meanwhile, the cries of loneliness conclude in more shots of tequila.

Unfortunately, this record does not get any better, save for “All In My Mind,” which is the only above average track among a collection that ranges from remotely tolerable to plain unbearable. “All In My Mind” contains a beauty of a melody with toned down vocals which make for a sincere effort. If James could have remotely bottled up the essence of this song and sprinkled it across this record, this would have been a much more enjoyable album. Instead, what is left to show for their efforts is one memorable song and nine of a disposable nature.

James had their moment in the sun. That was many moons ago. Le Petite Mort does nothing to regain their footing. As a result, thanks in no small part to the overloading of vocal antics and puzzling melodic selections, this record falls off a cliff and lies flat on the canyon floor.

Track List:

  1. Walk Like You
  2. Curse Curse
  3. Moving On
  4. Gone Baby Gone
  5. Frozen Britain
  6. Interrogation
  7. Bitter Virtue
  8. All In My Mind
  9. Quicken the Dead
  10. All I'm Saying
James, Le Petite Mort
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

40 / 100
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