New Booth explosion!

JAMES plan to return in 1997 with their first single and album in more than two years, as well as embarking on their first UK tour for more than four years. Tim Booth, lead singer of the veteran Manchester band, speaking exclusively to NME, revealed that the new single, 'She's A Star', would be released on February 4 and the new album, 'Whiplash', would be out on February 24.

He explained the band had made a conscious decision to take a break from each other and put James on hold, during which time it was agreed he could collaborate with Angelo Badalamenti on the album 'Booth And The Bad Angel', which was released earlier this year. "After the last tour we knew we needed to take a long break. We'd never really taken a year or two out for 11 years, so that's what we did. We felt we'd overdone it, we needed a break and we felt people needed a break from us. Now it feels wonderful," Booth said.

He added the band had decided they needed a fresh approach to songwriting, especially in the light of the critical mauling the last two James albums (1993's 'Laid' and 1994's 'Wah-Wah') received. "We're looking to work in a new way, to do songs, then improvise them, smash them up again. The only way we can keep going is make it interesting. I was disappointed with the critical reaction to the last two albums. It can seriously damage your ego," he explained.

"Will we split up if this album doesn't do well? No, I think James will go on for a long time. But then, who the fuck knows in this world?" He also hinted there would be more Booth And The Bad Angel material, probably with the release of a re-recorded version of 'Fall In Love' from the album next year.

Meanwhile, the new James album, produced by Stephen Hague and Brian Eno, has been described by Booth as very "uptempo". The tracklisting is: 'Tomorrow', 'Lost A Friend', 'Waltzing Along', 'She's A Star', 'Greenpeace', 'Go To The Bank', 'Whiplash', 'Avalanche', 'Homeboy', 'Angel' and 'Blue Pastures'. Fans will have a chance to hear the tracks live when the band head out on tour in March, visiting Leeds Town & Country (March 12), Middlesbrough Town Hall (13), Glasgow Barrowlands (14), Newport Centre (16), Exeter University (17), Southampton Guildhall (18), London Shepherd's Bush Empire (20), Leicester De Montfort Hall (23), Cambridge Corn Exchange (24), Wolverhampton Civic Hall (25), Liverpool Royal Court (27) and Manchester Apollo (28).