Most newcomers to Jamie Lidell are immediately struck by his voice. “Soulful” almost feels too easy an adjective to use to describe it, and comparisons to Sam Cooke and Otis Redding are both moot and belaboring the obvious at this point in Lidell’s career -- after all, his sophomore album, 2005’s Multiply, earned him all that critical praise, slots on both Grey’s Anatomy and a Target commercial, and a multitude of devotees. What really stuck out about his voice wasn’t just how authentically “soulful” it was, but that it suggested an honesty and openness that belied his years (he was thirty-two when he released Multiply).
Endorphins explode at the onset of Jim. Hands clap, tambourines rattle, and birds chirp on opener "Another Day." Cheery is putting it mildly. A longtime shaker on the London electronic scene, Jamie Lidell let loose his blue-eyed soul on 2005's Multiply, and Jim flies higher still. Good times roll on the Stevie Wonder-impersonating "Little Bit of Feel Good" as Lidell's plea of "please don't make my feel-good go away" prompts the question of what fuels his ecstasy.
Jamie Lidell’s first solo album ‘proper,’ Multiply (most people ignore his electronica debut Muddlin’ Gear) felt like the ultimate in guilty pleasures the first time you heard it: ridiculously joyous soul and R&B re-takes that borrowed enough Surrealism from Super_Collider (his duo with Cristian Vogel) to stop things from devolving to a thankless game of ‘spot the reference. ’ Subsequent listens revealed an anxious, unsettled heart buried deep beneath the flesh, and songs like “The City” or “When I Come Back Around,” worried away at the stress-head man-machine interface of Sly circa Riot, or Prince circa Sign O’ the Times – though they’re not comparable on qualitative terms, mind you: what could be? But let’s cut to the chase: Jim is a huge disappointment. With the exception of the giddy rush of “Hurricane,” all of Multiply’s uncertainty and tetchy energy is missing, replaced with too-friendly soul sides that flick all the right switches, draw on all the right period pieces, but lack any real fire.