Soul freak Jamie Lidell has officially dropped the follow-up to one of the happiest, most infectious soul albums of the last many years. “Compass” hit stores today, both brick and virtual, for a return to form after the critical success of the 2008 album, “Jim”. Where Lidell began his career as a tweak-heavy electro artist with soul on-the-side, his music trended more pure over the years, peaking with soul classics like “Another Day”, “Little Bit of Feel Good”, “Multiply” and others. “Compass” may not have the infectious accessibility of his last album, but Lidell was clearly not afraid of a return to his roots of tweaking, of experimenting and fusing his soulful ways with a heavy dose of electronic wisdom.
Jamie Lidell isn’t alone on this one– for “Compass”, Lidell teamed up with a crack production team including Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, Feist and the legendary Beck himself. Beck’s influences are apparent from the start, and effectively a natural blend with the electro-inspired philosophy of Lidell. If Jamie needed a partner to re-explore his electro-soul beginnings, Beck is the ultimate musical navigator.
To get a sense of just where this album is along Lidell’s career path, “Your Sweet Boom” is perhaps the most indicative track of this album. It’s melodic, soulful, distorted and laced with thick electronic effects throughout. You’ll hear Beck’s influence here, but most importantly– you’ll hear Lidell in his truest nature. This is the Jamie Lidell that we heard so many albums ago, but it’s also the melodically-gifted Lidell we heard from “Jim”. If you find yourself enjoying that tune, you’ll find this album a very welcome extension of the Jamie Lidell experience. TheCoolist Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.