Monday, June 5, 2006

James Figurine

Jimmy Tamborello is in a unique position for an electro-pop artist. When he and Ben Gibbard teamed up for the amazingly successful Postal Service record, his next project was guaranteed, to quote Biggie, “blow up like I knew you would.” Although Jimmy’s been around for a while, and released records under several different monikers (including the dark and depressing, yet wonderfully programmed Dntel), he got most of his notoriety from PS.

He’s back with a solo record and a new name, James Figurine. Originally when I heard he recruited several big name Indie people to sing on the record, I was a little suspect. Jenny Lewis, Erlend Oye, and… wait, no Ben Gibbard? I have to say I totally respect the fact the two didn’t link up again. Jimmy and Ben could have shat out a song and the record would have sold like Dan Brown wrote it, so it is great to see Jimmy going at this without the instant hype.

The record lies somewhere between the dark sounds of his work as Dntel, and the poppy upbeat melodies that Postal Service brings to the table. The first two cuts are brilliantly programmed, lo-fi numbers that sounds very similar to the style Owen from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone uses. As the record progresses and guest vocalists appear, Jimmy’s beats become somewhat happier (for lack of a better work) and the programming becomes more layered and textured. The beat on Ruining the Sundays. is a well structured old skool bassline mixed into a New Order type riff that really picks up the tempo.

It’s not really fair to say, but I think Jimmy works better with guest vocalists on his song. Matching a beat and mood to a voice is one of his biggest skills. Morgan Nagler's vocals complete Pretend it’s a race and I’m on your side and naturally, Jenny Lewis and Erlend Oye’s tracks are infectious.

This album, like much of Jimmy’s work is great. Considering I was expecting a subpar effort, or a Postal Service v2.0 – after the success of Postal Service, you’d be hard pressed to not try to duplicate some of the fantastic styles, or fail trying to reinvent the wheel – I can tell this album is really going to continue to grow on me.

MP3:: All the way to China ft. Erlend Oye
MP3:: Apologies – via MOKB

Posted at 1:24 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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