Jamie Lidell returns to the front lines with his new album ‘Jim’ on the Warp label, a follow up to 2005’s ‘Multiply’. The phrase blue eyed soul is one that is likely to be bandied about with careless abandon and in some respects that could be an accurate assessment of his current crop of material. Ten songs that are infused with the spirit of sixties and seventies soul and funk. There is of course no shortage of people offering this type of music in the current climate, many of them steeped in a sound that accurately recreates the heritage of the genres.

In terms of production however Lidell’s work goes the extra mile. Vocally and instrumentally the album doggedly recreates ‘that sound’ and in those terms you can tell this album has been put together in an almost slavish fashion.

Lidell cant really be faulted in the performance stakes. He has a voice that comes up with the goods (you just know that someone is going to make a Jamiraquai comparison, please don’t…he’s so much better than that). The musicianship involved is again of the highest calibre. Tight effortless playing that makes you think the assorted players on the album were fused together at birth and left in a studio for the duration of their lives.

If anything such is the craftsmanship and the performance on this album that it almost makes up for some slight misgivings about the songwriting. This bunch could deliver lack lustre material with ease and still have an audience salivating. Still there are enough high points on here to appease the casual listener and for the musicians out there is enough sheen, polish and downright funk to make you wish you were better at your chosen instrument.

The album is out on April 28th.

He’s also playing Bestival and London on the 29th at Koko.