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Love Life

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Album Review

Following a rather fallow seven-year period which produced just one solitary record (his 2004 solo debut Bone), James' frontman Tim Booth now appears to be making up for lost time with his sophomore effort, Love Life, the fourth album he's put his name to in three years. Produced by Lee "Muddy" Baker, who was also at the helm for the recently reunited James' double whammy of The Night Before and The Morning After, its 11 buoyant tracks reflect this sudden sense of urgency both in its contrasting lyrical themes of love and war, and in Booth's vocals, which sound perhaps even more impassioned now than they did in his early-'90s heyday. Indeed, much of the album has a mass sermon feel to it, whether it's the slightly evangelical cries of "love is the cure" on "Bless Em' All," an Elbow-esque slice of slow-burning grandiose pop which deals with the plethora of "end of the world" theories, the gospel-tinged singalong which closes the steel guitar-laden Americana of "The Point of Darkness," or the preaching against the pursuit of self-interest which accompanies the early Strokes-ish garage rock of "All About Time." But Booth isn't averse to discussing more personal matters, either, whether it's the ode to a new love on the Wall of Sound drums and Hammond organs of "Do Yourself a Favor," the gorgeous acoustic closer "Gloria Descends," which deals with Booth's near-death experience while surfing in Hawaii, or opener "As Far as I Can Be," an unashamedly romantic folk-pop number recorded on a children's toy instrument, the omnichord. Elsewhere, the rousing post-apocalyptic "Shutters" throws a few bones to his James fans, but with convincing attempts at chilled R&B ("Consequences"), stoner alt-pop ("Harbour"), and Arcade Fire-style roots rock ("Monsters"), you don't have to be a fan of their trademark, anthemic indie to enjoy the record. Indeed, while many of his Mancunian counterparts are happy to trade on their former glories with their solo efforts, Love Life proves that Booth is an entirely separate and much more adventurous entity when going it alone. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Biography

Born: 04 February 1960 in Manchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

In the mid-'80s, James singer Tim Booth was often compared to Morrissey of the Smiths. While the folksy guitar pop of the Smiths and James exhibited similarities, Booth didn't wallow in Morrissey's anguished observations about life and love. Booth formed James in 1982 with Paul Gilbertson (guitar), Jim Glennie (bass), and Gavan Whelan (drums). Throughout the '80s, the band received airplay on college stations, gradually developing a cult audience. In 1991, James re-recorded "Sit Down"; the track...
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Love Life, Tim Booth
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