CULTURE

Tim Booth is back to face the music, solo

Three years after the breakup of the popular British pop-rock band James, its frontman Tim Booth is back with a new solo album, his second, and a tour whose itinerary includes one night in Athens on Friday. Booth, who had quit the band just ahead of its eventual demise in 2001, had declared at the time that he was no longer interested in performing live. The singer, who enjoyed considerable success with James, particularly toward the latter stages of its two-decade run, was focusing his interest on acting and screen writing. «I believed that my future would be exclusively linked with acting and writing. I go to acting school once a week and a script of mine for a film has been given preliminary approval by a production company,» Booth recently noted. But his interest in music was revived after the vocalist met a new group of collaborators, including the producer-musician Lee «Muddy» Baker and bassist-songwriter Kevin «KK» Kerrigan, who played pivotal roles in Booth’s new album, «Bone,» which was released in June. «I no longer felt like performing live, but my meeting with Lee and the others reignited the flame inside me. I wanted us to write songs that, compared to the James era, were groovier and with a greater dance inclination,» commented Booth. «Not that the fans didn’t dance with the older stuff, but my desire was to summon the fans to an almost addictive feeling for body movement, without, however, necessarily making straightforward dance music. The result includes incredible bass lines and rhythm sections, which makes it fundamentally different to James’s sound,» he added. As a solo act, Booth thus appears adamant on avoiding a repeat of the work he produced with James. Their pleasant folk-pop became an institution on the British alternative music scene of the 1980s and ’90s. Early in their career, James received much public support from their idol Morrissey of the Smiths, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. The iconic figure’s praise ended up keeping the band’s early reputation hovering at the level of a second-rate Smiths. But James continued to tour and record before eventually drawing a sizable following. As was the case with many of their peers, James, in the late ’80s, turned to the «acid-house» scene for inspiration and scored a breakthrough hit, «Sit Down.» Not long afterward, however, the group became more experimental, which led to a collaboration with Brian Eno for 1993’s «Laid» album, a quieter and more ambitious effort compared to its predecessors, and which proved to be quite a hit in the US market’s alternative scene. The group then re-emerged four years later with «Whiplash, a more straightforward record. Hinting at the possibility of future solo work, Booth had released his first solo album a year earlier, «Booth and the Bad Angel,» on which he collaborated with composer Angelo Badalamenti, who has provided the soundtracks to most of David Lynch’s films, including «Twin Peaks» and «Blue Velvet.» Badalamenti also wrote the music for a superb album by Julee Cruise, «Floating into the Night.» Booth’s new album includes a remake of one of his older songs, «Fall in Love With Me,» which had originally appeared on the «Booth and the Bad Angel» album. Commenting on the song, Booth remarked: «I really love it and consider it to be one of the best songs I’ve ever written. That’s why I wanted to give it another chance with the audience.» With that in mind, it should be a part of Friday night’s repertoire. Gagarin 205, Athens, 205 Liosion, tel 210.854.7600-2.