In these days of brand-conscious music marketing, it's no mean feat for an artist to take a left turn and completely reinvent himself. Jamie Lidell, in one of the oddest artistic evolutions ever, took everyone by surprise by successfully transforming himself from IDM whiz kid to neo-soul funkster with 2005's Multiply. The evolution continues with 2008's Jim, a beautifully wrought collection of heartfelt tunes that proves Multiply was no fluke. Rather than opt for Mark Ronson's faithful wax-museum treatments or Jamiroquai's party-starting Stevie Wonder ripoffs, Lidell combines unobtrusive electronics, warm organic sounds and sincere songwriting to move beyond mimicry to simultaneously mine emotional depths and fill dance floors. The 34-year-old Brit crafts funky, Sam Cooke-indebted soul that both hipsters and their suburban moms can groove to. Live, Lidell often performs solo, layering pre-recorded tracks and bizarre beatbox vocals to create dense, danceable delights like a rump-shaking Andrew Bird.
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