Review: Jim Noir – Jimmy’s Show
Published on November 19th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Jim Noir’s fourth album may not contain any great surprises for those who’ve been paying attention thus far, but the imagination remains boundless on another psych-pop masterclass from the Salford singer/songwriter.
As usual, the delights come thick and fast: opener “X Marks the Spot” is a crashing, fuzzy bout of crazed Beatles-iness, “The Tired Hairy Man With Parts” a Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci-esque sea shanty with luscious harmonies a Kinksy undercurrent, “Tea” like a Steve Mason-fronted Elephant 6 number with twinkly sci-fi keys, and the aptly titled “Sunny” a bouncy bout of Zombies pop with harpsichord overlapping Beach Boys backing vocals and such grin-inducing lyrics as “Falling off your motorbike is tricky when your stabilisers are set in stone / But nowadays it seems far too easy to get you on the end of my phone”.
We’ll carry on in this vein: “Ping Pong Time Tennis” reminds of Love Kraft-era Super Furry Animals with its gentle daftness and bursts of liquid sunshine organ, “Driving My Escort Cosworth to the Cake Circus” pairs the Olivia Tremor Control of Dusk at Cubist Castle with the Kinks of Face to Face with it trebly ’60s production and warm, probing bass (kudos also for the unexpected acid jazz outro), while “JJC Sports” and “The Cheese of Jims Command” further the breezily lysergic/lysergically breezy vibes with driving grooves and just a smidgen of melancholy.
Suddenly, Jimmy’s Show takes a strange turn for the electronic with “Old Man Cyril” and “Timepiece”, the former coming across like Twoism-era Boards of Canada remixing Madness, if you can imagine such a thing, and the latter like last-two-albums Beta Band with a hint of Elbow for good measure. It’s weird ‘n’ wonderful stuff, and the synaesthetic amongst you will luxuriate in the breadth of colours on display.
“Under the Tree” then reverts to type with Beach Boys-y bum bumming and sporadic resemblance to “Norwegian Wood”, before “Fishes and Dishes” dazzles with cascading twinkle-keys over a brooding strut that leads into a funky sort of samba shuffle while yer man sings about a “sailor on the sea”. It’s not hard to imagine Noir as the sailor in this benevolent odyssey, taking to the high seas of happy hallucinations with a Steamboat Willie whistle here and a dancing cyclops there, sirens scattered around on the rocks luring men not to their deaths but to a Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era listening party.
The array of referenced artists contained within this review should be testament to the ever-so-slightly stifling air of derivation, but originality needn’t always be the bedfellow of imagination. You may know what you’re getting with Jim Noir by now, but it’s no less irresistible for it. Fans of any of the aforementioned luminaries: apply within.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Jimmy’s Show is out now. For more information, please visit www.jimnoir.com