• Record Label: Decca
  • Release Date: Sep 16, 2008
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. James do have more quirks in their sound and plenty of quirks in Booth, who is always willing to act like a fool if it is in service of the greater good. These are the things that make Hey Ma a welcome comeback even for those listeners who may never have been big James fans.
  2. Setting out their stall with the strength and affirmation of the birth song 'Bubbles,' seemingly inspired by the arrival of Booth's first son, James gather themselves with an impressively solid stature.
  3. Welcome return to form from nineties stalwarts, not much has changed with this tenth studio album but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  4. The pace may slow a little at times, but the turns are easy to take and the jagged rocks are few and far between. The excellent Hey Ma will see you through to journey’s end.
  5. Lyrics like those [in 'Whiteboy'] make up for the clunkers, but more importantly, the music itself sounds shockingly vibrant for a band only recently taken off ice.
  6. If you liked James before, then they won't disappoint you now. [Fall 2008, p.81]
  7. James has surprisingly reunited for this equally surprisingly strong comeback album. [May 2008, p.135]
  8. No matter that he employs every possible cliche (and none more so than in the violin-choked Upside, in which he patronises immigrant labourers): once the guitars get rolling and Booth scrapes the sky with his tenor, you find yourself weirdly hooked.
  9. 60
    There's still an organic, soaring bluster to the music, too, though a shortage of obvious anthems this time. [May 2008, p.100]
  10. 60
    A clear attempt to re-create their most commerical sound--which works well on the ingrating antiwar titile track and the glistening time capsule 'Oh My Heart.' [Nov 2008, p.96]
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. thelistener
    Sep 19, 2008
    7
    Great to have a new James release... Doesnt come close to Laid (which would be a 10 on my scale)... but is still quite good. The album seems Great to have a new James release... Doesnt come close to Laid (which would be a 10 on my scale)... but is still quite good. The album seems to heavy on the horns at times.. Despite my score of 7, a must buy for any James fan. Full Review »
  2. NM.
    Sep 18, 2008
    9
    A pure f*cking delight. Nothing more needs to be said. Great lyrics, great tunes, and genuinely enjoyable. The only qualm? The production is A pure f*cking delight. Nothing more needs to be said. Great lyrics, great tunes, and genuinely enjoyable. The only qualm? The production is over-compressed. I'll fault the mastering for that. Full Review »
  3. TomB.
    Sep 18, 2008
    8
    great to have these guys back, and a welcome return to form. hopefully they have a few more albums in them, with this lineup. their 90s great to have these guys back, and a welcome return to form. hopefully they have a few more albums in them, with this lineup. their 90s output was almost second to none. Full Review »