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Old 06-22-2007, 09:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
Groupie
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Default James Harries - Days like these

I bought this album after reading a great review of it in The Observer, I did a bit more research and was intrigued by all the great press and reactions from the fans that James gets as I have never heard of him before. He is from Manchester, UK but now lives in Prague, Czech Republic. This album is truly very different from what the market offers these days. But not different in the way that would make it “unlistenable", quite the opposite. The album contains thirteen songs and it won't be an exaggeration when I say that they all are absolutely brilliant. They all feature amazing vocals, very clever lyrics (you feel you could have written some of them yourself – even though you probably couldn't...) and interesting guitar playing – both acoustic and electric. What I really like about the lyrics is that there are almost like poems, there are many different ways of how to interpret them. I have tried asking my friends about their understanding of the songs and it was interesting to hear so many different views.

The album was released by what seems like a small independent label. (Dekkor Records).

The cover and the booklet: interesting piece of art work by Paul Wilson, try to study the picture for a few minutes and you will see a lot of different things …The booklet is very simple and does not contain any lyrics which I am sure some fans will miss. But if you put the CD on, I don’t think you will be interested in reading the usual small print lyrics anyway.

Now the musicians:

Lyrics: James Harries (Except Ghost Town, written by Jimmy Bozeman
Vocals: James Harries
Backing Vocals: Marta Topferova and Lenka Dusilova
Acoustic Guitar: James Harries
Electric Guitars: James Harries and Gawain Mathews
Baritone Guitar: Gawain Mathews
Drums: Scott Amendola and Joe Bagale
Percussion: Michael Spiro
Bass: Jon Evans and Jeff Allen
Violin: Irene Sayer
Viola: Dina Maccabe
Cello: Marika Hughes
String arrangements: Ben Yonas and Stuart Bogie
Piano, Harmonium, Wurlitzer, Mellotron, Organ, Casio: Ben Yonas
Clarinets and Harmonica: Stuart Bogie
Trumpet and Flugel Horn: Mike Olmos
Cuatro: Marta Topferova
Trombone: Adam Theis
Additional Sound Design: Joe Bagale

Wow, so many different instruments and musicians yet this album still has a feeling of simplicity, not overproduced and over arranged, it feels real, as if the band was playing live.

Songs:

1. Best Intent – really great sounding strings, enjoy the ending part where James’ voice is an instrument itself
2. Dream – from a gentle beginning the song becomes more dramatic.
3. If I ask… - this could be your new “love making” song, lovely piano parts
4. Goodbye – brilliant song for everybody who is splitting up with their partner and just can’t find the rights words…, love the drums on this one!!
5. Ghost Town – this is the only song on the album that isn’t written by James and you can tell that it isn’t. The latino sound sort of stands out and it might be the easy one to remember for most listeners, very clever percussion work here.
6. The day after – one of my favourites, the voice is the main instrument here.
7. Picture Perfect – again the drums on this song are superb
8. I don’t care – “I am on my knees , I don’t need a priest, just buy me a drink, I don’t care what you think” – I think these lyrics speak for themselves?
9. Loser – it’ s the electric guitar and bass that get me on this one, also feel like James is signing about many people I know…
10. Days like these – well chosen title song, it breaks your heart.
11. Are you happy? – my favourite, this one rocks,man!
12. Start all over – another favourite (ehm, sorry I think they all are) the simplest song on the album featuring just James’ vocal and acoustic guitar.
13. Skin reddening – quiet, soft , really like the guitar on this one


It’s difficult to write about James songs as I feel I am not skilled enough writer to be able to express how I feel and what I think about them. If you are looking for something new and cool, get out there and buy this album.
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