Jamie Lidell: Jim

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Jamie Lidell

Album: Jim
Label: Warp

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Jamie Lidell did himself a disservice by making Multiply, his first journey into revivalist soul, so postmodern and glitchy. Granted, it made the departure more palatable for fans of his previous work, but it also opened him up to the evergreen criticism of blue-eyed soul—that it's mannered and overthought. More than that, it relegated his voice to being yet another instrument in a frantic mix. On Jim, Lidell course-corrects by choosing a warmer, more organic palette. It's a retro-soul record minus the bleeps and whistles, and it exposes Lidell as the charming, confident vocalist he is. He effectively sells the barn-burners ("Out Of My System," "Where D'You Go"), but naturally, the ballads put up a bigger fight. "Rope Of Sand" features an arrangement so slight, Lidell has no choice but to flesh the song out with his voice. He triumphs, delivering a subtle, stirring performance reminiscent of Daryl Hall in his prime. On "Green Light," Lidell sings, "It's only a trick if you make it a trick," and in dispensing with his sonic trickery, he's made a record worthy of his buzz.

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