His debut album Tower of Love set the bar pretty high for the one-chap band that is Jim Noir. The tunes were all super memorable and the sound was a bliss inducing mixture of burbling electronic beats, layered vocals reminiscent of '60s sunshine pop, trippy arrangements that harken back to the heyday of British psychedelia, goofy lyrics that always bring a smile, and instantly familiar melodies. Apparently, Noir liked the sound, too, since his second album replicates it, refines it and, in the best possible way, retreads it. It's easy to cut him and the album some slack since it's only the second one he's released. If it were his third, or fifth, record to have the same sound and feel, then it'd be a problem. On Jim Noir, it's like a second helping of a particularly good meal. Or more specifically, a second giant cupcake with a big glop of frosting on top. The songs are just as bubbly, the lyrics reach acceptable levels of silly (CDs vs. vinyl, going on a holiday, and having songs stuck in your head are some of the topics covered) and Noir generally sounds like he's having the time of his life making this album. The only problem with the record is that there are no stand-out tracks like Tower of Love's "My Patch" or "Eenie Meenie" to be found. As the stereotypical A&R weasel might say; "I don't hear a single." That could be a fatal flaw except that the overall quality of the record is so high and the sound is so perfect, you don't feel like there is something so terribly important missing. Songs like the lovely ballad "On a Different Shelf," the tough as nails rocker "What U Gonna Do" (which is sure to get played like crazy on Little Steven's Underground Garage) or the impossibly chipper and bouncy "Happy Day Today" are more than enough to salve any wounds and make the album a satisfying listening experience. If the third album comes out sounding exactly like this, we may need to re-examine Mr. Noir and his bubble machine, but for now it's enough to frolic giddily in the froth. -AMG
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