Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review: Jamie Lidell - Compass (* * *)

Ordinarily, an artist doesn't release their breakout album after 30, but then, Jamie Lidell’s story is anything but ordinary. Formerly in experimental electronica (both solo and as half of Super_Collider), Lidell’s seemingly swift transition into soul was both surprising and totally successful—as his 2005 record, Multiply, emphatically proves. He distanced himself even further from his digital roots with 2008’s Jim, which doesn't match the explosive creative energy that defined his debut, but is a fine pop album in its own right, allowing him to flirt a little with mainstream success in the process. But if there were any who figured Lidell would attempt to complete his late-blooming transformation into a radio-ready pop icon on his third go-round, they would most certainly be wrong. Instead, we find the artist in a highly experimental mode on Compass, still churning out danceable, soulful tunes but with decidedly more exploratory edge that sometimes enhances and sometimes distracts from the quality of the songs themselves. Enlisting the help of Beck and Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear) as producers, along with a slew of other collaborators, Lidell’s latest is a fascinating though unfortunately not very successful effort. (Read my full review @ In Review Online)