...smoother than a baby's bottom and funkier than three week old yoghurt.
Ruth Jamieson 2005
Jamie Lidell could be described as the male Joss Stone. Like the Devonianpin-up, he is white and hails from the English countryside and yet somehow, like Joss, when he opens his mouth what comes out is not the squeak of an anaemic folk singer but the sound of a worldly-wise black American soul star. But be assured the similarities to drossy Joss end there. Where she makes mum-marketed music to hoover to, Jamie's sound is genuinely smoother than a baby's bottom and funkier than three week old yoghurt.
His vocal style draws influence from Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sly Stone and Prince, Prince and more Prince. In terms of production, the experimental and musically accomplished Jamie has been likened to Herbie Hancock. His highly-rated stage show - concisting of masks, video, costumes, 16mm film projection etc. - is multimedia in extremis.
If these comparisons to both traditional vocal brilliance and crazy modern tomfoolery seem at odds then you've perfectly understood the oxymoron of Jamie and his digi-funk sound. This boy gets his kicks by making old music with new ideas and technology.
On "You Got Me Up" chimes segue imperceptibly into electronic bleeps. A funk guitar loop is sped up into a high pitched buzz for the outro of "When I Come Back Around". "Music Will Not Last", an early Motown-type number,features a low-fi fuzzy drum kit,seemingly played at the far end of a very long tunnel.
And the result of this oh-so-clever melding of the ultra modern and the time tested? It may not be that much fun, but it is interesting, and probably a little ahead of its time. And what's more, you certainly can't hoover to it.