The nightmares ride away
When you refuse to play
Oh go and read a book
It’s so much more worth while
Being a song-smith crook.

Hymn From A Village.

J-Five Offerings-Hymn From A Village (New Master)

Sleeve #36

This third release of « Hymn from a Village » comes with a new sleeve, to keep the harmony with the « Five Offerings EP » section.

The picture was taken on the Top Of The Rock building, New York City.

The contrast between NYC and the village has been done on purpose.

« Hymn from a Village » originally closes “James II ep”. It’s a song that opens with Whelan’s odd drum rhythms which remind me of the first drummer from Sonic Youth, very odd un-rock and roll drumming. The song builds and builds as the bass and guitar mesh together and Tim Booth lets his nonsense spill out – “heard you calling through the drumbeat…”, “Study death in style”, “This song’s made-up/made second-rate”…who knows what the lyrics are about? Again, a definite example of obscure charm, James had something, though it’s possible it was just a certain quirky nature.

As reported on One of the three website, “Hymn From A Village” was featured along with Stutter on the 1982 demo circulated to record companies and was first aired to a mass audience in a 1983 Peel Session. An even earlier version entitled Say It With Flowers appeared on the studio disc of The Gathering Sound boxset in 2012.

Press review : « What a glorious statement of intent “Hymn…” still is. Feverish tin-pot percussion play giddily with African pop-meets-Orange Juice guitars, as Tim Booth hollers: “This language used is all worn out/A walking corpse that won’t play dead”. If Morrissey had kitchen sink couplets, Tim Booth certainly had the imagery and philosophical nous. But then what da ya know – “Best Of…” jumps five years”.

This is what has been written by the NME about the song at the time of its release : « All the bands coming through at the moment seem to be of a certain mould. BEAUTY is the thing to be possessed of and if you haven’t got it, fake it, and bugger the sound you’re making — that can be faked too. That’s why’ James are so refreshing. So non-visuel it hurts and makes it excessively difficult to find one of those easy nouns we journalists like attaching to the front of groups’ names. You know, ’funksters’, ’popsters’, ‘Iong macsters’. The comparisons with Joy Division are glaringly obvious but they have a Iess doomy, more open hearted feel and (ouch) energy ».

Browse the album.


The former version of this sleeve art featured a picture taken from the top of the Eiffel tower in Paris, to keep with the idea of the contrast with the village notion.  

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