Jimi Goodwin’s solo debut has been a long time coming — more than 20 years, if measured from the first recordings of Sub Sub, the group which eventually morphed into the acclaimed Doves. It’s clear from the opening bars of opening track “Terracotta Warrior” that Goodwin is making the most of the freedom of striking out on his own: The song begins with a sequence of crashing glam chords before drifting into a weird, pretty prog opus that sounds like it might have been performed wearing some sort of cape.
Odludek is not, however, some act of petulant self-indulgence intended to alienate anyone who might have thought fondly of Doves’ pastoral indie. “Oh! Whiskey,” the most obvious highlight of Odludek is a clear enough descendant of Doves’ “Kingdom of Rust.” Similarly, there is evidence of shared DNA between Doves’ janglier moments — “Winter Hill,” say — and the likes of “Lonely at the Drop.”
But it sounds throughout like Goodwin is having the most fun at the moments least like his previous works;¬ it says much for Odludek that these are usually also most fun for the listener. “Man vs. Dingo” is a giddily deranged revisiting of Sub Sub’s dance roots in the company of what sounds like a New Orleans funeral band. “Live Like a River” suggests Black Sabbath trying to teach themselves electronica: a compliment, in this context. The best is saved for last: “Panic Tree,” a deadpan gospel romp composed in collaboration with Elbow’s Guy Garvey.