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Tim Booth - Bone


Review: Jack Foley

I CANNOT have been alone in shedding a tear when James broke up, fearful of a future without Tim Booth's unmistakeable voice, and the quality of the songwriting.

So, news of a solo album from Booth came as something of a relief, especially since the long-player which resulted is such a strong affair.

In truth, it's not that much of a departure from James, prompting the inevitable question - why the split?

But it's undeniably good to have the singer back, even if the mainstream immediacy of James is missing.

There's nothing here that jumps out in the way that Laid or Sound did, but that's missing the point.

Bone is a much more subtle affair, which wouldn't appear bothered with chart positions.

Give it a few listens and you'll find that there is much to admire, from the intellectual lyrics (some of which seem designed to provoke controversy), through to the touching ballads, which recall some of James' better album tracks.

And throughout, there is Booth's exceptional voice, which helped him to stand out as one of the great frontmen of all-time.

Highlights include the funky guitar strains of In The Darkness, which possess a sort of David Holmes 'cool' about them; or the album opener, Wave Hello, which contains yet another great guitar riff.

Emotive lyrics come in the form of 'life's a bitch and I'm her whore', in the lively title track, Bone, which contains a terrific beat; or 'so I've been abuser and I've been abused, I've been the Nazi and I've been the Jew', on the soul-searching Discover.

Eh Mamma, with its bouncy, Sixties-styled guitar riffs, finds the album at its catchiest, while former single, Down To The Sea, should have been a bigger hit.

And then there are the ballads, which contain a beauty that was previously contained within James tracks such as Just Like Fred Astaire.

Fall In Love is a prime example of Booth's vocals and songwriting at their most tender and heartbreaking, while Falling Down follows along in similar fashion - both pensive and poignant, and quite capable of moving you to tears on their day.

Bone may not be the long-awaited reunion for James, that fans may still be holding out for, but it does mark a very welcome return for its lead singer, and capably fills the void left by that band's departure.

It deserves to find a big fanbase, for it is an excellent solo album.

 

Track listing:
1. Wave Hello
2. Bone
3. Monkey God
4. Redneck
5. Love Hard
6. Discover
7. Fall In Love
8. Falling Down
9. Down To The Sea
10. In The Darkness
11. Eh Mamma
12. Careful What You Say

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