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creativity of his raw ideas and the careful craft and polish of a great record. Jim will switch you on in the morning, move you on the dance-floor and take you down in the small hours. It s a bold, promiscuously diverse album, mixing up gospel grooves, sweetly sung and fiercely passionate
soul, delicately moving ballads, thumping early R & B, synthed-up disco,
and even a touch of hillbilly funk. I haven t tried to hide the influences,
says Jamie Lidell ''This is the music I love.'' But, listen closely and you can
hear Jamie moving in new directions, creating a sound and style that is
entirely his own.
Jamie Lidell s ''Multiply'' might have faded from our minds and iPods since 2005, but the British blue-eyed soul singer s back in a big way. A big, romantic, retro, soul kind of a way, that is. Jim, his second solo album on Warp (not counting the collection of Multiply remixes released in 2006), picks right up where the earlier record left off almost. His new collection of songs is both more polished and more genre-limited than Multiply. But because the Berlin-based singer s such a consummate professional, this material is an absolute pleasure to hear from start to finish. Oh, maybe it s not his professionalism that gives that impression it s his infectious joy. ''Give yourself the green light'', Lidell sings, and his optimism is unquenchable.
In an indie music atmosphere that s leaning (this year) decidedly towards the folk and psych ends of the spectrum, Lidell s retro style provides a welcome contrast (as indeed it did in 2005). Nevertheless, a quick comparison: return to ''Multiply'' after you ve just heard ''Little Bit of Feel Good'' and the older song sounds staid, contained, understated. But maybe that s unfair, because ''Little Bit of Feel Good'' is the funkiest, most exuberant song on the album. It s impossible to resist. If not Best New Music, it s Best Music That s Being Made Right Now.
Two elements of Lidell s composition and production, in particular, seem to have gelled on Jim: economy and crisp precision. The former s an undeniable compositional advantage. The brass-and-horns interlude of ''Another Day'', for example, brilliantly recalls a Frank Sinatra standard (''Fly Me to the Moon'') before jumping lithely back to the original timbre. It s now a Lidell trademark to employ the various ingredients of retro soul jazz tonalities, gospel backing choruses in slick layers that aren t apparent the first few times the songs are casually heard. The crisp production, though, belies the fact that Jim could never have been made 30 years ago. It s the way the cymbal sound in the chorus of ''Out of My System'' splays out into computerized distortion, or the way the accompaniment in the gentle ballad ''All I Wanna Do'' evolves from simple acoustic guitar to arpeggiated organ to fuzzy atmospheric effect.
Still, the subtlety of these electronics and the discretion of their employment are what makes Jim an ultimately more accomplished record than Multiply. You won t find a song like the electro-hiccup ''When I Come Back Around'' here. Instead, there are more pianos; a song called ''Green Light'' wraps them around a clicking horse-shoe percussion and faint aquatic effects. And early highlight ''Wait for Me'' is all unbridled celebration, a little bit ''Runaway'' and a little bit orange shirts and bell bottoms.
You get the feeling Lidell could keep pumping out these perfectly-minted soul songs forever. That s fine with me he s great at it. And ten songs at just under 40 minutes is the perfect dose of neo-soul for anyone who s been pummeled by a bit too much depressive tight-jeaned guitar music over the winter. It s the beginning of spring, Jim is, with the straightforward and admirable aim of getting us all to enjoy life just a bit more. As Lidell himself explains :
All I really wanna do
Is show you how easy it could be
To paint back the colours,
the green in your tree
Before it all fades away. --Popmatters
Top Customer Reviews
His latest album is his best yet, buzzing with a sunshine funk that Stevie Wonder would be proud of (notably on the ebullient single, "Little Bit of Feel Good").
"Wait for Me", with its boogie-woogie piano and gospel vocals, is typical, lending a 40-year-old songwriting template a sheen of sassy modernity.
Like a New Age Stevie Winwood, Jamie has his own joyful road to the elixir of Stevie Wonder-sourced synthesised soul. The first taster from his forthcoming eagerly anticipated second single, "Little Bit Of Feeling Good" is as slinky, suave and downright superb as homegrown UK dance gets.
Jamie's vocal charm presents riches aplenty - elastic pitch, melodic purring, peachy phrasing - and the minimal funk backdrop, sashaying horns and rainbow-coloured back-up harmonies make this a true gem.
Signed to the hip electronica label Warp, and counting Feist and Gonzales (who plays piano here) among his pals, the Berlin-based Lidell would be expected to produce something pretty cool on his third album. But where its predecessor fused laptop beats with retro styling, Jim is an all-out stomping soul album. In its favour, the tunes are tight, and Lidell has a great soul voice.
It retains a keen sense of nostalgia, a sharp sense of style and mixes influences to generally pleasing effect. By the singer's own admission, it's a promiscuously diverse collection that mixes up gospel grooves, sweetly sung soul, delicate balladry, thumping early R&B, synthed up disco and even a little 'hillbilly funk'.Read more ›
Standouts for me: "A Little Bit of Feel Good" which will get you up on your feet with it's uptempo beat and gospel groove. "All I wanna do" a bluesy ballad. "Green Light" which adds a techno groove over what could have been an Al Green song.
Rebecca Kyle, May 2008
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a Christmas gift. I bought it new and it skips like it's been played a million times. Even took it to the local vinyl store and they played it on their system and it... Read morePublished 14 months ago by deanna
I heard this reviewed on NPR and bought it right away. Talented musician and great lyrics that really tell a story of his love of New York.Published on September 16, 2012 by Patricia A. Maher
I love this CD! It's faithful to the style of old school R&B. Great for driving around in your car on a warm summer day!Published on October 10, 2011 by Jean Gonzales
I first noticed Jamie Lidell on the Craig Ferguson Show. He totally rocked that performance! Immediately after the show, I went to Amazon and purchased this album. Read morePublished on November 7, 2008 by movie lover
I got to catch this guy live on Austin City music festival, I had never heard of him prior. His performance was so good I decided purchase this cd. Read morePublished on September 29, 2008 by J. Warren Benton
I bought the CD after hearing only one of the songs. I figured the rest of the CD probably wasn't as good but I was wrong! Read morePublished on June 30, 2008 by M. Petric
After hearing one track from JIM, I took a chance and bought the CD....no regrets. From the moment I put it into my CD player, his soulful melodies and amazing voice threw me back... Read morePublished on June 8, 2008 by Brooklyn Aphrodite