Artwork features Yan Demarles.
(from Folklore) : The double A-side combination of Jam J and Say Something came as a compromise between Fontana’s wish to release a third single from the Laid album and James not wanting to be seen to be milking their fans and also wanting to unveil the Wah Wah alternative project that they were very proud of.
The single was backed with an alternative version of Say Something and an outtake from the Laid sessions called Assassin about a Middle-Eastern executioner which featured Mark’s debut on guitar.
A 12″ single and CD were also released featuring a 33-minute remix of Jam J by Andy Weatherall’s Sabres of Paradise.
Two videos were made for Say Something – the first featured Tim dressed in a gorilla suit in a cage trying to escape whilst shredding the suit piece by piece. Concerns about complaints of promoting animal cruelty, a second video was produced featuring the band walking the streets of New York trying to attract the attention of disinterested bystanders.
It was Say Something that radio picked as the lead track even though it was technically only listed as a double A-side for the first week of the release. A flying visit back to the UK in between US tour dates saw a round of radio interviews and a recording of Say Something for Top of the Pops.
The single reached a respectable 24 in the first week of release, but without the band there to promote the single further, it fell down the charts in the second week.
Artwork for the single, as with the others from the Laid album, came from Larry’s wife Jane.
Who-oooh!!! Anbient moodswinging as the Sabres manage to make James sound as un-James-like as humanly possible. Gold star! The first one attempts The Aphex Twin Gold Award for longevity by weighing in at 17 minutes (split into an ‘Arena Dub’ and ‘Amphetamine Pulsate’): the second is a mere 16, where a load of guitars suddenly fly into the arena and chase out any dubious notions of a cash-in. More of such weirdness please.
A lesson in the producer’s / remixer’s art to rival the classic example of how Andy Weatherall helped Primal Scream become tranced-out club evangelists and Tom Dowd turned them back into bluesy, leather-trousered hard-rockin’ muthas.
James’ joust with the Sabres rivals Frank Bruno’s recent walkover in terms of being a woeful mismatch; Weatherall simply crafts an enchanting, dubby 17 minute ambient track from which Tim Booth is totally expunged. The original Eno-produced James cut is no doubt the harbinger of James’ much-vaunted “improvised” project. Fontana’s (lack of) faith in it can be gauged by the fact that they’ve made it a double A-side with “Say Something”, one of the more melodic cuts from Laid.
I sympathise with Tim Booth’s recent outburst that “Laid” was critically undervalued over here, but weighty laborious fare like this is hardly likely to redress the balance.
Say Something / Jam J Mail-Shot
James release a totally awe-inspiring brand new EP on March 21st. ‘Jam-J’ / ‘Say Something’ will be released as a double A-side through Fontana.
‘Jam-J’ – the first track on the double header, taken from the bands forthcoming alternative LP, is produced by Brian Eno, and sees James stripped down and dubbing it up with an electro dance floor mantra that is nothing like you’ve ever heard James do before.
‘Say Something’ is taken from ‘LAID’, the bands current LP and is the kind of lyrically disturbing yet beautifully rendered love song that James are so good at, again produced by Eno.