James Millionaires

After 16 years of toiling away through multiple line-ups, producers and crippling tax problems, you would think that James would have given up. Heroes in their native England, they have had enough success here in North America to keep them pushing for their big moment in the sun. The much-delayed Millionaires just may be the break they’ve been looking for. Much more lavish and inspiring than their last effort Whiplash, the James of 1999 has managed to roll out an album with a seemingly endless string of potential hit singles. Brian Eno has returned to twiddle the knobs and much like his work on Laid, he adds a richness and deep emotional feel to the already clever and catchy songs. Singer Tim Booth has still got the range and he still knows how to soften the full sound James are known for. We are treated to a variety of energy levels, sometimes wrapped into a single track — “We’re Going to Miss You” starts out dark and moody (and frightfully similar to Depeche Mode) and swells to a chorus that is one of the albums highest points. Although there are weak moments on the album’s 11 cuts, the overall appeal is never compromised. There is even a cameo at the end of the album by none other than Sinead O’Connor, adding a digitised farewell to a brilliant album of music. (Mercury)