There are strange cultures growing in the petri dish that is Manchester’s music scene. A city that has spawn many great artists and bands, ranging from that of Oasis, Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, The 1975, The Smiths, Elbow, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, and the list continues to pile all over my desk. It can even claim The Bee Gees in its dweller alumni, and it has seen some of its new acts power into uncharted territory, such as the incredible Delphic and their fusion of electronic and rock that proves utterly entrancing.
However, Jim Noir (real name Alan Roberts) stands alone amongst all of this, and indeed in music in general. I began listening to his music around 2005, when his first album Tower of Love first hit the shelves and I became dumbstruck. Here was an artist that felt more at home in 1965 instead of 2005, and his music was filled with the psychedelic music of the era - a mixture of pop and electronic that was able to delight and inspire the listener.
This heady sound is prevalent in tracks such as ‘How To Be So Real’ and ‘Turbulent Weather’, however it was ‘Eanie Meanie’ and ‘My Patch’, the album’s more rockier tracks, that became the stars. Both were featured prominently in the media, with ‘My Patch’ being used in Grey’s Anatomy and ‘Eanie Meanie’ becoming the main song used in the 2006 World Cup Adverts by Adidas.
Tower of Love was a tour de force of summer music, and deservedly became a foundational pillar of every summer playlist I’ve created ever since.
Released in 2008, Jim Noir’s eponymous second album expanded on this sound, and though it never reached the same heights of his debut, it instantly became my most favourite of his albums. The intro, ‘Welcome Commander Jameson’, reminisces that of ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ with the similar use of a reprise towards the end. And songs such as ‘Don’t You Worry (I’ll Be Fine)’ and ‘What You Gonna Do’ built upon the more popular and rockier songs of Tower of Love.
But the breakout of that album was ‘Alright’, a fusion between the two and has by far one of the best drum tracks on any song I’ve ever listened too. This song was peculiar, imaginative, indescribable, intriguing - a true description of all the music that Jim had produced. The song layered together impeccably with melodies that would stick in your head for months, a vocoder that haunted the vocals, a bass rhythm that seemed to drive into your soul and the drums that were just perfectly fitted to the track. The music video to this track was positively bewildering, with a Frank Sidebottom inspired puppet trying to rescue its robot friend.
After this, Zooper Dooper dropped in 2010, a short collection of songs that harkened back to the days of Tower of Love, before Jim began to experiment a new way to deliver content to his fans. The Noir Club allowed members to subscribe for a monthly fee, and in return, they were given the latest song that Jim was working on. These songs were eventually released as part of Jimmy’s Show - an album that displayed the way it was created. Each song had its own charm, its own character, from the Hendrix-ish ‘X Marks The Spot’ to The Turtles sounding ‘Sunny’ to ‘The Cheese Of Jim’s Command’ which belongs in the finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey for it’s pure psychedelic effect. There just wasn’t the same mesh as previous works, but the creativity was still present.
Le Nurb also received press tickets for the release event of this album, to read our review of the gig, and an interview with Jim Noir click here.