Jamie Lidell: Jim

Do you remember that first real day of spring a couple of weeks ago? You know, the sun was out, and the chill was gone from the air. You went outside in a t-shirt for the first time in months. Well that was the first day I heard the new Jamie Lidell album. It would have made a cold, gloomy day a little brighter, but it made a beautiful spring day nearly perfect.

I think it’s time to make it official; there is a great soul revival going on, and just when we need it most. Recently I’ve enjoyed soulful albums by Was Not Was, Duffy, and now Jamie Lidell. Add last year’s albums from Ryan Shaw, Sharon Jones, and Amy Winehouse, and it’s hard to deny that something is happening. And this isn’t the programmed beats, auto-tuned vocals, and over- produced gloss of neo-soul. This is the real deal.

Jim opens with the sound of a bird-call on “Another Day,” and proceeds to make it anything but another day. This track will put a smile on your face and make you want to dance in the street. It will remind you of The Rascals classic, “Groovin’.” The Rascals aren’t the only influence that Lidell assimilates on the album. You’ll hear strains of Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, Sam and Dave, and Parliament, among others. As Lidell says, “I haven’t tried to hide the influences. This is music that I love.” The album’s first single, the aptly named “Little Bit of Feel Good,” uses unusual instruments (Moroccan coconut flute anyone?) to flesh out the song.

Jim arrives at a perfect time of the year, and at a perfect time in history. We can all use some cheering up these days, and Jamie Lidell provides it.

In A Word: Joyous