If you've had enough of the girls crowding the field, and you need a feel-good piece...
Chris Jones 2008
As if you needed any more proof that this season's genre to pump up your profile is S.O.U.L, here come Warp - purveyors of all things edgy and electronic - with another slice of prime retro blue-eyed schmutter from a man formerly known as half of a techno duo. Admittedly the duo (Super Collider) did err on the side of Cameo-style funk, but Lidell's third solo offfering is about as straight a dip into the '60s stuff as you can get. Luckily for us he's very proficient at it too.
Jim bursts out of the box with Another day: a gospel flavour on his lips, testifyin' hand claps a-plenty and even some ambient birdsong to let you know that summer's on its way. Lidell's got talent to spare, and he obviously knows his soul forbears' work intimately. The barrelhouse piano fun of Wait For Me is pure Jackie Wilson, while The Green Light is a Memphis soul stew that tips its hat to, yes you guesssed it, Al Green. There's a fair old dollop of Sam Cooke here too. However if you're looking for a the person thaat Lidell's fine voice reminds one of most often, it's Terence Trent D'Arby. This may be a problem for those that are old enough to remember the ex-army soul chancer. But once you overcome this it's the stuff that falls slightly outside the predictable that you latch onto.
The slower, sultrier All I Wanna Do is a mesmerising mix of southern style and folk dynamics. In fact it's the slower numbers that win by a mile here. The closing Rope Of Sand is weirdly exquisite. Meanwhile Figured Me Out picks out all the best bits of Jamiriquai ie: It's squelchy and funked up.
Of course there's little new here but is it useless to point out that just because classic soul is now hip currency there were a whole bunch of blue-eyed shouters who did this seductive stuff much better before? Lewis Taylor anyone? And Jim's lyrics are hardly the kind to stick in the memory for more than two seconds after the album's over. But ultimately if you've had enough of the girls crowding the field, and you need a feel-good piece of plastic to either shake your booty to or romance your significant other, Jim's got it all.