James - The Morning After
Incomparable to its companion mini album but no less majestic, The Morning After is the dark to The Night Before's light. Treading subjects like marital abuse and death, it's certainly not an album bathed in sunshine and while not instantly accessible, it will find its way under your skin and threaten to never leave. Tim Booth's unmistakable vocals mix with orchestral melodies that are subtle instead of anthemic to create an album that might be downbeat but is never depressing. It's tough to pick a highlight in such a strong selection but 'Lookaway' will certainly be the first to jump to your attention, thanks mainly to its glorious violin-led chorus, before the low-key charms of tracks like 'Dust Motes' and 'Rabbit Hole' eventually worm your way into your subconscious. It should come as no surprise to proclaim that this album is a must for James fans but it goes further than that; anybody wanting to know how to craft emotional, but not overblown, music should have a copy of The Morning After in their collection.