In the spring of 2022, I reviewed the debut EP from James And The Cold Gun and announced, with typical hyperbole, ‘Stars are born right here. It’s absolutely certain.’

It was superb (the EP, I mean, not the review). I re-read the review before writing this, and to be honest with you, I wish I hadn’t. Why? Because my notes for the 10 songs that make up this collection are full of words like ‘energy,’ and I mention my love for a little-known band from the 00-10s called The Zico Chain.

Looking back at the review of the EP, it says the same. So either fools never differ, or I was right the first time. Let’s go with the latter.

JATCG are now beefed up to a five-piece, but even more importantly, they’ve lost none of the urgency that so characterised their early work.”

Straight from “Chewing Glass,” James And The Cold Gun takes us on a fuzzy, energetic ride reminiscent of bands like Dinosaur Pile-up. “Modern life is a firefight,” sings frontman James Joseph, formerly of Holding Absence, and he is superb throughout.

“Something To Say” immediately throws you back to the late 90s with its powerful hooks and catchy slogans, matched by the invigorating energy of ‘All The Wrong Places.’ The scrappy riff of “Bittersweet” gives off early Nirvana vibes, and James Bliss excels in delivering it.

“Headlights” takes a love song and adds a unique JATCG flair to it, making it stand out (part sex, part Rocky film is the best way to think of it). “My Silhouette” surprises, but it explodes into a joyous chorus.

There are plenty of moments of light and shade. Notably, “Grey Through The Same Lens” brings in acoustic elements. On the other hand, “Saccharine” returns to their signature sound, but it does so genuinely, without any artificial sweeteners.

“Alone Again” introduces a riff reminiscent of Therapy?. The pace slows down for “Cheating On The Sun,” yet it proves to be a winning formula as it hints at the band’s potential longevity, which they underline with “Three Years.”

Ultimately, I’ve wasted 350 words to convey what Stone Gossard (of Pearl Jam and on whose Loosegroove Label this album is released) succinctly stated in just five: “A shot of pure adrenaline” – and that’s essentially it.

While there were plenty of bands like this around the turn of the century, not many reached the level of excellence demonstrated by James And The Cold Gun. This is no mere nostalgia trip; it’s a brilliant band delivering an exceptional debut album.

Having recently opened for Guns N’ Roses, they won’t be bothered by what the critics think. Nevertheless, in their self-titled statement, James And The Cold Gun have presented one of the best debut albums in years.

Rating: 9.5/10

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