Jamie Lidell, 'Compass' (Warp)

7
Compass
Critical Mass
Label: Warp

by J Gabriel Boylan

Jamie Lidell has managed the neat trick of constructing a solid, distinctive identity out of headlong pastiche: falsetto crooning, post-IDM glitch funk, '90s-indebted R&B beats. That he's become close with Beck is fitting, and here the two share songwriting and production credits. At times, Lidell seems determined to overcrowd his genuinely soulful and lyrically strong music, whether it's with silly, pitched-down vocals ("Your Sweet Boom"), laptoppy clicks, squiggles, and washes ("She Needs Me"), or blasts of aggro rock ("You Are Walking"). The mournful, feed back-blanketed "Big Drift" finds a better balance, and closer "You See My Light" suggests a fresh direction, as Lidell's heartworn, tape-hissy vocal loats over spare piano and weepy horns.

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