AU CONTRAIRE: Jamie Lidell, “Jim” (Warp)

Because self-titled‘s staff doesn’t always agree about what’s amazing or godawful

What we said then:
“The Jamie Lidell we know and love is fun. This is not fun. This is so white-bread normal.”

Another perspective on things, by Andrew Parks:
The chirping birds and cascading piano keys that drift across the opening scene of Jamie Lidell’s third studio album couldn’t be more obvious in terms of the tone they’re trying to set. Much like the animated/analog universe of Mary Poppins (yes, Mary Poppins), Jim sticks to a sun-gazing palette of pastels, reds and oranges–a world where a spoonful of sweetener is all it takes for the medicine to go down. Or a spoonful of blue-eyed soul in Lidell’s case, as his latest LP marks a jarring departure from the circuit-bending, seize-the-day songs of Multiply. True to its banal title, Jim is free of frills, a record that’s determined to deliver nothing but deceivingly simple nods to the glory days of Otis, Marvin, Stevie and anything that’s ever been pressed with a Stax or Motown sticker. Deceivingly simple because of the subtle but spicy touches that Mocky and Gonzales–longtime Lidell collaborators that had their way with Feist last year–bring to nearly every track. That goes for everything from the decadent disco direction of “Green Light” to the way synths color outside the lines of “Figured Me Out.” As Lidell says in one song, “a little bit of feel good goes a long way,” making this album one of the year’s finest Sunday morning listens.