Thursday, May 15, 2008

JIM, not Jamiroquai

The arrival a few months ago of A Little Bit of Feel Good, Jamie Lidell’s calling card for new album JIM had some people reaching for the dreaded J-word. It seems that if a white man plays soul and funk, he’s a charlatan, peddling weak jazz-funk, just like the man in the silly hat. But come on. Saying that JIM is like Jamiroquai is as daft and wrong-headed as saying that because Arcade Fire play big anthemic rock, they sound just like Coldplay. Have a closer look at the snipers and you’ll probably find that they’re people who rarely stray away from indie rock, and who have little knowledge of funk and soul.

However, although it won’t be Jay Kay's name on your mind as you listen to JIM, there will be other famous names there. Jamie’s mining some rich influences and you’ll be reminded of Otis (Wait for Me), Stevie (A Little Bit of Feel Good and particularly the synth-funk of Figured Me Out) and Marvin (All I Wanna Do) as well as doses of both Motown and Southern Soul. There’s nothing here that will remind you of his earlier work with Super_Collider, and not even the edge that his previous retro-soul album Multiply had, but I’m really not complaining - this sort of thing is right up my street.

You may legitimately complain about the weakness of Lidell’s lyrics, that he’s too in thrall to the past, and you might even get away with calling JIM a pastiche, but what the heck, when the music’s this good, it would be nuts to complain too much. And if the indie bores still can't stand it, just use it as an excuse to check out some of his influences. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Download: Jamie Lidell – Wait for Me
Download: Jamie Lidell – Figured Me Out

Buy JIM from Rough Trade, or download from

1 comment:

dshey said...

This album is okay. I don't understand the hype really. It's nothing new, and something I'd easily find in my mothers gigantic SUV, right next to a Rick Astley CD.
Good review, nonetheless.