And play Newcastle gig...
Sarah Robinson
13:06 21st November 2005

Towers“Calling all the people with ears” – it’s with this hilariously bizarre invitation that Jim Noir summons us, and indeed everyone who has the aforementioned organs, to the feast of sonic weirdness that is his debut album. Actually, weirdness doesn’t cover it. What’s the word for a record where every track seems to stop dead half way through, announce ‘And now for something completely different’, and turn into either a luscious slice of melodic pop, or alternatively, a chorus of tweeting birds? He may hail from the same city as Oasis, but Mr Noir’s fascinating hotchpotch of styles is as far removed from straight-down-the-line, conventional rock as possible. So you want Super Furries-style dreamy psychedelia? It’s there on “How To Be So Real”. Beat-driven tune with a guitar part nabbed from The Doves’ “There Goes The Fear”? Why, that would be “In The Key Of C”. Melodies that sound like they’re being played on the ‘ice jug’(?????????????) setting on a kid’s Casio keyboard? Check out “Turbulent Weather”.

At times the hazy, 60s-sounding layers of vocals and Noir’s fondness for the odd spot of tambourine-bashing make the album stray a bit too close to hippydom for comfort. “I Me You I’m Your” sounds like it could be performed at the front of a church by a bunch of beardy blokes wearing sandals. It even finishes up with what might be an organ solo, although this is swiftly followed by an odd, zoomy noise which Gigwise would like to think is a spaceship taking off – which obviously redeems the track immensely.

The album’s cheeky and ironic lyrical focus upon the most prosaic parts of everyday life keep these hippyish tendencies firmly tethered however. “Eanie Meany” contains easily the finest couplet ever written about demolishing garden furniture: “If you don’t give my football back I’m gonna get my dad on you/I only kicked it over your fence and broke a silly gnome or two”. Genius!

The great thing about this record is the way that it constantly surprises the listener with its changes of direction and its ‘do my ears deceive me or is that a Japanese nose-flute?’ moments of multi-instrumental invention. Jim Noir is obviously a hugely talented musician and he has made an album that shatters apart to reveal floaty, Simon and Garfunkel-style melodies, weird and wonderful sounds and a heavy does of wit.