Jamie Lidell is the sort of artist who could confuse you. He’s white, British, painfully trendy, and signed to Warp so one’s immediate assumption would probably be that he makes achingly cool electro, or ragged Hoxton rock. In fact he creates 21st Century (blue-eyed) soul of the finest variety.
His new album, which is called, in what is certainly a nod to the great soul albums of the 60s, Jim, starts off with this amazing track. If you knew nothing more about Jamie Lidell than what you heard on Another Day you would probably swear that he’s a pure blood descendant of Sam & Dave, or maybe Jackie Wilson. There’s no attempt at irony, no Ronson-esque playing with the genre; this is just soul, pure & simple.
Everything about Another Day is wonderful; the beautifully naive lyrics, the optimistic sound of bird song at the start, the glorious piano. From the hand-claps that open the track to the uninhibited whoops that close it, this song just screams of the joys of summer, love & music. If I play it much more I’m liable to ruin it, but I just can’t help myself; playing Another Day is like turning on the Sun in your ears. It is, to be blunt, fabulous.
And the rest of Jim is pretty good too. Wait For Me sounds like Otis Redding reborn in East London; Little Bit Of Feel Good is warped funk; Figured Me Out is an amazing blend of everything from early Jamiroquai to classic Prince whilst final track is a beautifully laid back affair that always reminds me of ELO. In a good way.
This truly is an amazing album, and Another Day opens it in true style. The only thing that annoys me about this album is that it makes me think of how good Ben Westbeech’s should have been. His early singles (particularly So Good Today & Get Closer) showed real potential but in too many places Welcome To The Best Years Of Your Life drifted into average.
Apparently Ben’s working on his 2nd album now; I know that Gilles Peterson (the owner of Westbeech’s record label Brownswood Recordings) is a big fan of Lidell – here’s hoping he find whoever produced Another Day & the rest of Jim and sets him to work on Westbeech. Maybe they could even call the 2nd album Ben?