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James Pants - Welcome

James Pants, Welcome

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

JAMES Pants is the great new hope of the Stones Throw record label. His real name is James Singleton and he hails from Texas, while his music is best-described as synth-heavy soul.

His debut album Welcome has been in the melting pot since 2001 and seeks to fuse ’80s soul and electro boogie with everything from early rap through to new wave and post-punk disco.

When it’s good, it’s actually quite funky and boasts a lot of charm. But Pants seems to be airing a lot of dirty laundry, as it were, and struggles to escape that overly familiar feel that comes with every new ’80s leaning artist.

That said, Pants fares better than most in making that retro sound appear more appealing. Album opener Theme From Paris sets things off amid some lush waves of electronica and a chillout style that Groove Armada might like to employ, while there’s a thumping big beat sensibility to early highlight Dragonslayer – one to really get the dancefloor pumping.

Deon Davis then contributes a strong set of vocals over the otherwise synth-heavy Crystal Lite, while – two tracks later – former single We’re Through drops one of the funkiest workouts on the LP, complete with chiming cowbell and a lazy, hazy electro pulse that’s great just for jamming along with.

But thereafter, the album becomes a lot more hit and miss – and only rarely breaks away from the synths underpinning it to give it an extra edge.

Good Things drops a funky, brass-heavy strut that marks a welcome respite from the electronics, while Finger On The Knife, a little later, benefits from another madcap backbeat and some urgent vocals. Gary Davis, meanwhile, just about enlivens You’re The One.

But for an album that displayed so much potential early on, you can’t help but feel that Pants struggles to maintain the momentum. What should have been a romp ends up a bit of a long haul through the type of sounds we’ve come to hear once too often.

Download picks: Dragonslayer, We’re Through, Good Things, Finger On The Knife

Track listing:

  1. Theme From Paris
  2. Dragonslayer
  3. Crystal Lite-Feat. Deon Davis
  4. Cosmic Rapp
  5. We’re Through
  6. My Tree
  7. My Girl
  8. Prayers Of The People
  9. Good Things
  10. I Choose You
  11. Green Rivers
  12. Finger On The Knife
  13. Voodoo Caves
  14. Ka£h-Feat. Deon Davis
  15. You’re The One-Feat. Gary Davis
  16. Shower Party