A college Newspaper

Review in a College Newspaper 1997 (submitted by busserra@pilot.msu.edu)

James "Whiplash" (3 of 5 stars)

For a band that has 14 years of pop music experience, it's not surprising that James' new album reeks of modern pop trends. The band, which found fame and MTV airtime with its last album "Laid", has probably hit the keys of success again with "Whiplash". But of course, only time will tell. "Whiplash" has many of the same qualities that made "Laid" a success- such as the introspective lyrics of frontman Tim Booth. His melodromatic droning with a positive, hopeful appeal gives "Whiplash" a unifying tone, much as it did for "Laid". Besides this, the album actually showcases quite a few instrumental innovations by the band in varied appeal. The first half of the album has that patented James pop sound- punchy guitar chord structures and wandering melody. The latter demonstrates the band's attempt to latch onto current trends in the pop market that incorporate electronic music dance forms. The flow of the album ofter shifts unexpectedly, however, when songs such as "Blue Pastures" creep into the mix. This acoustic track is reminiscent of the band's earlier folk-like songs on "Laid". Its placement in the latter, upbeat half of the album is surprising. All in all, the album proves the old adage, "old dogs can't learn new tricks", wrong. But it proves right the idea that "the more things change, the more they stay the same".