Jamie Lidell

By John Power

Jamie Lidell: a bit of an enigma wrapped up in a conumdrum, one might say if one was prone to spouting such shite. As the one half of Super_Collider (with Cristian Vogel) and over the course of many a live show, our Jamie proved himself to have one of the most soulful voices in electronica. Admittedly he didn't really have much competition but still the boy could sure belt out a tune.

So when it was time for his debut release on Warp he went and did what any self respecting electronica artist would do and delivered an album of stuttery, seemingly random noise. Even by Warp's standard it was a remarkably obtuse album and one that seemed a deliberate two fingered gesture towards those expecting something with crossover pop-tential (well, someone has to save the world from Maximo Park).

Well either someone has given him a stern talking to or he's just lightened up as Multiply, his sophomore effort, is about as different from Muddlin' Gear as it's possible to get – maybe too different for this reviewer. Gone are the crunched-up beats and abstract noise, in it's place slick jazz funk that your mum could do the hoovering to; radio clash has become radio. And a far cry from his awesome live cutting, chopping and vocal mutilation loopfest.

Title track Multiply conjures up images of saccharine Jools Holland – never pleasant at the best of times – and will get housewives everywhere cooing with excitement. Throughout the album Lidell's white soul-boy vocals are undeniably gorgeous, catching a ride over Hancock-esque funk, with just enough warped glitchiness to keep the Stevie Wonder comparisons at bay.

Once you've recovered from the shock of the new and realised that the shopkeeper hadn't accidentally slipped the new Jamie Cullen disc into the case, Multiply makes for a rather enjoyable listen. Taking in jazz, funk, gospel, Latin percussion and the occasional hint of the twisted electronica that made his name, it will probably baffle and infuriate as many people as it will entertain (the new hoovering housewife market aside). He has clearly realised that if you try to please everyone you'll end up pleasing no one, so fair play to him.

Hell, if I had a voice like that I'd be pimping myself to Simon Cowell, so that he's still following a path that wont lead to red Lambourghinis and late night punch-ups with the paparazzi outside Mayfair private members clubs is something to be applauded. Now, if he can just find a middle ground on his next album we might genuinely have a stone cold classic on our hands...
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