Tuesday, June 1, 2010

review: Jamie Lidell's Compass 'doesn't get where it's trying to go'

Jamie Lidell

Warp Records, 2010

Review by Quentin Kenny

Unfortunately, Compass by Jamie Lidell too often doesn’t feel like enough of anything. It’s tough to hear Compass and not want to like it. It sounds fantastic. But gone is the relatively straightforward soul-pop of Jim, which frankly sounds almost boring in comparison, lost in a cacophony of distorted sounds and general weirdness.

It would be undeniable if it all went somewhere. But even on the tracks I like a lot, such as “I Wanna Be Your Telephone” or “Enough is Enough”, I find myself jumping back to the beginning, wondering if I missed the part where they turned into a song rather than an assortment of things that I like tenuously, though joyfully, set together. Muddled under the distortion and EFX, it can be tough to find that connection.

It’s the beats that keep it interesting though, sort of like that Sleigh Bells record but with a sophistication and craft that’ll actually keep it interesting for more than the length of time it took you to read this sentence. While that sound manages to keep Compass from feeling half thought-out, overall it’s still only taking me halfway there. I don't like or dislike the album. I'm more disappointed that it doesn't get to where it seems to be trying to go.

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