Monday, May 10, 2010

Jamie Lidell - Compass

The title is no lie; it takes some serious assistance to find a sense of direction while listening to Jamie Lidell’s fourth full-length. Funk, soul, hip-hop, dance, and electronica are all mashed together in songs that fizzle and pop like kooky science experiments. Lidell yelps and whoops like a maniac atop the jazzy horns of “The Ring,” the shuffling percussive twists of “Your Sweet Boom,” and the bass-heavy disco jam “Enough’s Enough.” Beck lent a hand to the spacey production, along with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, who Lidell says he knew he needed to work with from the minute he heard Veckatimest. The result is a disjointed, yet festive, collection of songs that paint pictures of Lidell’s roughest moments of the past couple years. Layer after layer of sound urge questioning - is that glass breaking or just a chime? Is he using vocal effects or is that another instrument entirely? Judging from pictures of his packed home studio, all of the above. Feist and Beck contribute ethereal harmonies to album standout “Big Drift,” a haunting desert ballad. The title track refreshingly peels back the layers to showcase Lidell’s passionate growl, the one glorious string that ties all Compass’ madness together.

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