Two tracks into Jamie Lidell‘s new album and we find ourselves drifting off. In a year that includes stellar work James Blake and the like, how did we ever accept such sanitised soul? It does in fact feel like an insult to call Building A Beginning that at times, given its pristine sheen seems all but bereft of that very thing.
If we were being extra harsh, we’d probably sum this new album up as Adam Levine singing over the worst of Pharrell’s beats. And if that seems lazy, then it’s only a fair match for the throwback production on the title track here, which almost seems like meta-parody as you half-expect some soft-focus porn to turn up.
In Lidell’s defence, he does turn up an endearing performance most of the time. The start of I Live To Make You Smile is an adroit gut-punch, before it moves into some ridiculous MOR Bridget Jones soundtrack territory, the sort of soft-moving whiteboy-soul that some kid might play on a first date dinner because it sounds romantic. It certainly is, but more in the unsubtle vein of its title, a big fuckoff heart-holding teddy bear of a song that somehow only seems less offensive because of the awfulness of Find It Hard To Say immediately after.
There is not even the remotest amount of subtlety here, not a single song that doesn’t go down the same old road of love-stricken crooning with titles as awful as How Did I Live Before Your Love. Even those womping guitars on Me And You feel about as original as Olly Murs, which funnily enough seems like Lidell’s nearest comparison. This is an awful interpretation of the genre by any counts – if this is him Building A Beginning, we’re positive that final structure will be a beige old pillar sanded down to fit around the decor of a working men’s club in Skegness. Yep, that awful.