Hey Ma

Studio Album by released in 2008

Hey Ma review

Seven year long expectation has been worth it

When in 2001 Tim Booth, the front man of British rock collective James announced his leaving and ideas of other projects the band's huge fan base got really upset, and those present on the concerts of its farewell tour around the country have shed a lot of tears. The final performance in the native Manchester has been recorded and later released as a live album Getting Away With It... Live, and since then James has not released any new material. Yet last year the guys have joined together again to take part in a jam session which resulted into several new compositions created and soon it was stated that James' tenth studio album was being prepared for release. Finally this spring record Hey Ma hits the stores. Definitely the album has become one of the band's best works in more than twenty years of its existence: topical lyrics, performed by Booth's recognizable voice, splendid musicians' playing, harmonious interventions of trumpet and violin, memorable tunes, all of it makes Hey Ma worthy of the seven year long expectation deserving to get into the number of the year's most successful rock records.

Hey Ma requires more than one listening

As in most cases with rock albums Hey Ma refers to that number of collections that require more than one or even two times of listening to capture all of its brilliant nuances, to hear all the instrumental hooks and understand all the texts rich in metaphors. Singles Whiteboy and Hey Ma have already been heard by most of the band's fans and appreciated as powerful and interesting songs, the former pleasing with the trumpet part and the latter being remarkable for the direct anti-war text depicting the terrible images that draw attention to the unjust deaths. A track on which both guitars and the front man's vocals give full swing to themselves is Oh My Heart, one of the album's most powerful ones, while Semaphore is on the contrary one of the calmest and quietest compositions here, although lyrically it is also one of the most worrisome. To the fans' great pleasure song Upside has entered the album, as it was written during the 2007 sessions and has since become one of favorites telling in an emotional and contagious way about the working everyday life of the band members. Track Of Monsters & Heroes & Men starts off with a hard guitar riff but is in itself a nice tuneful song refined with an excellent crescendo while the album closer I Wanna Go Home suits perfectly well for this role being a rebuff of a drunkard who has not yet lost his human face and desperately wants to get back to normal life.

An effective method of songwriting from James

It is hardly possible to argue with the statement that the release of one of the most notable British rock bands of the end of the last century has become a most important event in the music world. Hey Ma was produced by a renowned musician Lee Muddy Baker who worked with Tim Booth on his 2004 solo album Bone. Absolutely all the tracks have been born in James' own studio in France when the band members did what they like most, i.e. made leisure jam sessions inspired by the complete freedom provided by the producer. That was the way a hundred and twenty new pieces were created only eight of which finally made it to the new record the rest being written before in approximately the same way. That is why for instance song Semaphore ends with a gradual fading out, probably it initially has a continuation that is not too short. Due to such a simple but extremely effective way of songwriting James is spectacular on live performances improvising all the time and never playing one song the same way. Luckily the long expected collective reunion has happened and as soon as the next tour is finished it will surely present us with more than one new album for now the guys have more than enough material for that.