An English R&B guru currently living in Tennessee just sounds like an oxymoron right off the bat. However, Jamie Lidell has reappeared with his self-titled fifth album, and it sounds everything but clashing. With an acute apprehension of electronic beats, a sound rooted in soulful funk, and a fearlessness for experimentation, Jamie Lidell
shines as the prime example for everything a dance-infused album should feel
like. It's not about the heft or drama involved with the electricity - it's the utilization of melody and tempo that thread a song, distinguishing one from the next.
Not only does Lidell have the advantage that he sounds like a time warped fusion of Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Andre 3000, all coached by George Clinton, but his ability to experiment is a force to be reckoned with. For the most part, the album is balanced between heartfelt dance groove ballads and Nintendo-sounding twerks. It's freaking awesome. Listen to the first single Lidell released off the album, "Why Ya Why," you will understand.
Lidell doesn't lose his glamour, he owns it. His timing is impeccable: he relies on the human elements of his instruments and beatboxing for the funk, but allows his tracks carry away through the heavier, more contemporary EDM beats. "What A Shame" exemplifies this. With the ecstatic, party-worthy sounds, it's highly likely Jamie Lidell
will unite fans of all different genres in the audience.
Lidell also has a clever play on vocals. On tracks such as "You Know My Name" and "Blaming Something," we notice a particularly high, almost Chipmunk sounding voiceover, which explains why they sound so bright. Bold move, Mr. Lidell. Of course, the experimentation may have gone a little
too far on "So Cold" - we sense he went just a tad too Thom Yorke on us - but it's nonetheless enticing.
Simply put, this album is a carnival. A vibrantly colored project, illuminated with contemporary technique and born through soulful R&B, with this self-titled album, Jamie Lidell has solidified his place among solo musicians today.
is now available
, and for those willing to take a blast into the past, you may listen to the album in its entirety through MySpace.