Jamie Lidell, Jamie Lidell

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 02.18.13 in Reviews
Bursting with life and a superabundance of soul

Jamie Lidell has made a career-long habit of swerving, with periods devoted to out-there electronic futurism and then, by surprise, vintage throwback soul. His self-titled album makes good on the prospects of both, with an expansive, prismatic sound and a heartrending voice that proves decidedly human. More digital than recent Lidell albums, which paid explicit tribute to ’60s soul, it sounds more in line with the ’80s, when the influence of New Wave brought swelling psychodrama into R&B. “Big Love” could score a scene in any number of good/bad ’80s movies (the party scene in Back to School, say), but it’s also remarkable for the way it subtly builds to a fever pitch without seeming to have changed much at all. “Do Yourself a Favor” struts and preens over a space-funk groove that would make Justified-era Justin Timberlake proud, while “why_ya_why” slows down and goes slurry over a sci-fi Mardi Gras march. All of it bursts with life and a superabundance of soul, however real or imagined the time and place for the minting of that soul might be.