Under Review

Jim Noir

Tower of Love

Barsuk

Review By Robin Hawkins


Imagine a palette full of the best albums of the 1960s. Manchester, UK native Jim Noir covers the musical canvas of his debut album Tower of Love with strokes of Revolver, shades of Pet Sounds, and a light dab of Bookends. That being said, Noir is also bursting with originality. On Tower of Love, he mixes layers of Beach Boys-esque harmonies, hummable melodies, slick bass lines, and electronic beats into an amazing fusion of new and old.

Noir refuses to conform to convention, as each track takes a complete departure from the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge that’s so prevalent in pop music. There’s an odd, unexpected twist to be found in every track and, for the most part, they’re welcome additions. Some songs will feature little more than one or two lines of vocals, while others are completely instrumental. “A Quiet Man” is perhaps the strongest result of the musical fusion found on the album, backing house-styled backbeats and a booming bass track to thick layers of sunny harmonies. Meanwhile, “Tell Me What To Do” is straight-up vintage Revolver, and that’s never a bad thing.

Throughout all the complexity and eccentric styles, the true gem of the album revels in its simplicity: the closer “The Only Way.” The track sounds like what would result if Brian Wilson tried to write “Sounds of Silence.” Noir sings variations of “This is possibly the only time/the last time I can tell you/To tell you meant so much to me” over a gently plucked acoustic guitar as the song gradually builds into a spectacular collage of soaring harmonies. As the song fades into silence, the listener is left in anticipation of the next musical masterpiece that inevitably awaits from Jim Noir.