Jim Noir: Jim Noir 

Despite the name, the music of this self-titled album isn't all dark. Bouncy English pop-rock mixed with a healthy dose of electronica permeates this disc from top to bottom. It could almost pass for a dance album if it wasn't for the nagging feeling that something heavier and more significant lurks behind the catchy hooks and sometimes formulaic songwriting. While Noir's music might bring to mind carefree smiles and long-awaited reunions, the overall vision is indeed a dark one. Jim Noir is a concept album about a doomed spaceman. And in the tradition of fellow English pop-rocker David Bowie's Space Oddity, Noir's spaceman isn't making it back home. Or so I believe. I thoroughly scoured the CD for a story line but came up short. The lyrical content of the songs seems rather sporadic and unrelated. One song might be about going on vacation and the next reminisces about vinyl records. Perhaps there are some esoteric connections that I'm missing. There is, however, a very spacey vibe to the CD. The electronic sounds and synthesizers feel futuristic and there is no denying that Noir is talented and inspired. Comparisons to well-known English concept albums are unavoidable—at times, this album really sounds like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Magical Mystery Tour.

Whether you "get it" really doesn't matter. The record has some really great music ranging from ethereal vocal harmonies and gorgeous string arrangements to light-hearted psychedelia and memorable melodies. It's a feel-good, fun listen with just enough forward thinking and creativity to make it interesting.

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