James Yorkston and The Athletes | WIG142 | Released: 25/09/04
Just Beyond The River is James Yorkston and the Athletes' second LP, following their critically lauded debut, Moving Up Country (Rough Trade Shops' album of the year) from 2002. Recorded and produced by Kieran (Four Tet) Hebden over a period of 2 weeks at Bryn Derwen studios in Wales, Just Beyond The River is a bold record. James' subtle skills as a songwriter really come to the surface, and the playing, as always remains untouchable. During the sessions the guys sat around listening to a mixed bag of old favourites and newer discoveries Faust, Michael Hurley, Anne Briggs, D'Gary. Not since Will Oldham took post-hardcore rockers Slint on as his backing band have such influences helped create so beautiful a record. In some ways Just Beyond The River picks up where Moving Up Country left off. The tight jazz-folk styled performances from Reuben, Doogie, and Faisal bubble away throughout this new record, whilst the songs have more authority, more clarity, and a slightly darker edge to them on this outing. It's like James has his very own great Coltrane quartet with him! Perhaps unsurprising, with Hebden on board.