Jamie Liddell: Compass (Warp/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Jamie Liddell: Big Drift
Jamie Liddell: Compass (Warp/Border)

There is certainly no shortage of white soul singers these days (Hall and Oates seem to be making a comeback too), but Liddell from the UK brings a neat post-Prince funky skew and a techno-twist to his songs which, stripped of some of the considerable sonic effects and colours here, still stand as fine, inner-city soul vehicles for his high but malleable voice.

This is at its weakest when he reaches towards a kind of late Seventies soul sound (She Needs Me) and at its best when he abandons the reference points and gets Beck-like soulful on you (I Wanna Be Your Telephone, The Ring, You are Waking).

Some real winners here too: the slippery It's A Kiss; the title track which opens with a soft acoustic guitar backdrop then develops outward and back; the creaking almost hymnal You See My Light right at the end which sounds like it could have slipped off an alt.country album.

The angry grit that covers some of these arrangements comes from heavy hitters like producer Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, and Pat Sansone of Wilco -- which means most of this is duffed-up soul and r'n'b for people coming from the rock direction more than Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye et al.

By the way, he's either got a good sense of humour or is just very English: he wants to come in "for more than a cup of tea" -- which could have come from Jemaine and Brett who have rather spoiled over-earnest soul for us.

In many ways Liddell isn't doing too much himself that is groundbreaking, but the way his songs here are packaged and delivered should certainly take him to a contemporary audience which may have few of those reference points he knows so well.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Suede: Bloodsports (Warner)

Suede: Bloodsports (Warner)

The timing of this first Suede album couldn't be better: David Bowie's got a new album out and his Alladin Sane celebrates an anniversary reissue. And for a band whose singer Brett Anderson owed a... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SPOTLIGHT ON SYDNEY ART GALLERIES (2009): Small and sometimes imperfectly formed

SPOTLIGHT ON SYDNEY ART GALLERIES (2009): Small and sometimes imperfectly formed

For a quiet suburban street in Waterloo where small workshops sit alongside brick homes and the occasional eatery, there are a few meters of Sydney’s Danks Street fascinating for their art --... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Seger; Ultimate Hits, Rock and Roll Never Forgets

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Seger; Ultimate Hits, Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Elsewhere is a place with few rules but there are two: that Cher be worshipped as the goddess she is, and that Bob Seger should be spoken about in the same breath as other great Michigan rockers... > Read more