Review by Graham Finney

For those of you that know indie rockers James for their massive hit single “Sit Down”, it might come as a bit of a shock to you that “Living In Extraordinary Times” is their 15th offering. Long term fans already had a taster of what to expect earlier this Summer when the band dropped the impressive “Better Than That” EP which not only included two tracks from the album but also dropped a big hint that the band were back and firing on all cylinders.

Opening with the powerful “Hank”, one of the tracks from the aforementioned EP and a track which sees the band kicking off the album by taking a swipe at the current political climate in America, it shows a different side to the band. Following that though, “Living In Extraordinary Times” sees the indie favourites return to more familiar territory as the likes of the emotional “Coming Home (Pt.2)”, complete with guest appearance from Brian Eno, “Many Faces” and “Mask” sound more like the James indie fans grew up loving. Elsewhere though, there are plenty of moments where James step outside the indie box including tracks like “Better Than That” and the grittier title track.

As you go through the album, it does become clear that Tim Booth and the rest of James have certainly taken more of an experimental direction with this album and, you know, while most bands could just sit and rehash their most successful sounds, Tim and Co. should be congratulated for taking a risk with tracks like “Hank” because, when the whole package is put together, the end result is something that will see the band offering something different for the modern music fan while still retaining some of that “classic” sound which will ring nicely with their hardcore fanbase.

Rating: 8/10

Track Listing:
1. Hank
2. Coming Home (Pt.2)
3. Leviathan
4. Heads
5. Many Faces
6. How Hard The Day
7. Extraordinary Times
8. Picture Of This Place
9. Hope To Sleep
10. Better Than That
11. Mask
12. What’s It All About

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