September 7, 2006

Mod Clockwork Orange

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There must be something in the water of British suburbia that produces phenomenal musicians; either that, or, more likely, the combination of rain, boredom and a tambourine is just the right ambiance to birth aspiring rock stars. Well, Jim Noir is no exception.
Critics have compared Jim Noir’s debut album, Tower of Love, to the Beatles of the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era. However Tower is more along the lines of Belle and Sebastian, minus the self-pity, or The Velvet Underground, minus the band.
Apparently Jim is a one-man band, if I have interpreted the note on the dust cover correctly, which reads, “everything by Jim Noir.” Sounds to me like Jimmy may have a bit of a God complex, but that’s beside the point.
Perusing his one-man website, I discovered that Jim is quite a character. In nearly every picture he is wearing a derby hat, rather like the one from A Clockwork Orange. His anecdotes about growing up in England and his early music career, dating back from before his conception, are very amusing.
In fact, Jim claims, “I remember making a tune up in front of the telly. It was a protest song about the Vietnam War. I wasn’t happy with the situation and I thought something had to be said. It had no words but my music was so powerful you would have known what it was about.” This is really quite remarkable bearing in mind that Jim was born in 1982 and was not even a fetus at the time of the Vietnam War, but maybe I’m getting my chronology wrong.
In primary school, Jim met his best mate Batfinks, who was a “like-minded soul,” and they started creating music together. Who can resist a guy whose best friend is named Batfinks? Jim had an epiphany when he won a Batman waterpistol at a karaoke competition; he realized “make music: get rewards.” It was at that moment that he decided to make music his career.
Despite the fact that the album title Tower of Love may conjure ideas of silly romances, the album is not the slightest bit sappy. Jim draws much of his inspiration from the banalities of childhood. For instance in his song entitled “Eanie Meanie” he sings in earnest tones, “If you don’t give my football back/ I’m gonna set my dad on you.” It’s this childhood bliss that becomes a common theme throughout Tower of Love. When Jims sings about living “life in the key of C/ It’s easier to play” — we can’t help but sing along.
What has Jim been doing with his newly found fame? “I’ve got my own chateau Noir now,” says Jim. “I’ve got more people who pretend to be my friend, and I have a 2% ego increase everyday. Other than that life hasn’t changed at all.” There is a musical-old-wives-tale that “while only a few thousand people bought a Velvet Underground record upon their initial release, almost every single one of them was inspired to start a band.” Let us hope that Jim Noir has more success in record sales and less in inspiring mediocre musicians to start bands.