James – Seven (2xLP)
Following the breakthrough success of their previous outing, James released Seven, a record that married the ambitious scope of the lyrics with a grand, anthemic feel. Horns give songs like the lead-off "Born of Frustration" and the surging "Sound" a certain majestic grandeur, sweeping without being overblown. Lead singer Tim Booth is in fine form, lending passion to the proceedings, yet maintaining an intimacy. They don't totally abandon the more jangly, folk elements of past albums; it's still there noticeably on tracks like the lovely "Don't Wait That Long" and the shimmering, sardonic "Next Lover." Other highlights include the dramatic "Ring the Bells" and the resolute title track, which is propelled by Andy Diagram's trumpet, Booth's assured vocals, and a thumping rhythm.