British-born musician Jamie Lidell may be resident in Nashville these days but on this album, as with its Beck-produced predecessor Compass, his gaze appears fixed on American cities of very different musical traditions and inhabitants: Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis, home of Prince Nelson Rogers.
Lidell's falsetto soul and razor-sharp electro-funk owe much to the diminutive pop legend, but he's very far from being a Prince copyist. Not for nothing is he signed to Sheffield-based Warp Records, purveyor of some of the most experimental electronic music around.
It's no surprise, then, that lead single What A Shame is built on a cat's cradle of bleeps and squelches or that the rap-flavoured stomper Why_ya_why breaks down two-thirds of the way through into a storm of thundery electronic rumbles. (Lidell does like an underscore in a title, by the way: his side project, with Chilean DJ-producer Christian Vogel, is called Super_Collider).
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Elsewhere, however, the dominant mood is sunny. Like all the best interpreters, Lidell's skill is to throw everything from disco to New Jack Swing into the mixer and still come up sounding fresh and cutting-edge.