JIM OF SEATTLE: ‘We Are All Famous.’


JIM OF SEATTLE - We Are All Famous‘We Are All Famous‘ is a ‘simple’ album; an ‘innocent,’ album; a ‘straight forward’ and ‘unassuming’ album. Even the artist’s name reflects these assertions.

But it’s probably unlike any other album you’ve listened to before – the result being that some will absolutely love the variation and fresh sounds … but it’s equally as likely to polarise that view in others. It’s a hard one to call!

JIM OF SEATTLE has been making music for over thirty years but this is his first attempt to commit any of his music to disc. He provides virtually all the vocals and instrument backing on this nineteen-track, forty-three minutes long album. He wrote most of the songs, the two notable exceptions being a rendition of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star‘ as performed by his then two-year old daughter and delivered in an old black and white movie style, and a cover of Rancid’s ‘Black Lung.’ (Told you this was unlike any album you’ve heard previously!)

Now I’m a huge Rancid fan, and although the lyrics rang a bell, I had no idea! It’s a clever, never mind ‘brave’ interpretation, giving it sort of Simon & Garfunkel type harmonies over the top of the crunch of a marching army – well, I guess it’s meant to be the miners changing shift.

The tracks that follows however, is one instrumental piece, split into three parts: ‘Cloud-Cuckoo Land’ Parts 1, 2 & 3. It’s a very relaxing ‘classical’ piece with the accent on piano, violin and (I think) occasional oboe.

Songs like ‘When She Landed,’ are more like songs written for stage musicals although ‘OK‘ has a more contemporary feel – well maybe a little ‘dated contemporary’ if I explain that the looped, female spoken words and electro feel on this one remind me of that 1998 hit ‘Would You …?’ by Touch And Go. (God, I’m sad!)

There’s then the likes of ‘The Martians Are Going To Eat Us‘ which is again like it’s meant for a stage musical, with kids taking on the vocals and harmonies. And contrary to that, the second track in (‘Everybody Now’) is like a Seventies prog-folk song performed by the likes of Jethro Tull messing around with The Byrds!

The longest track on the album is the near four and a half minute long, ‘Welcome To Windows.’ Believe it or not, it’s mainly piano composition centred around the chime that greets you as you log on to your Windows-fired laptop! Think along the lines E.L.P. in frivolous mood!

If I’m honest, I’d have to say that this album confused the hell out of me on first listen! But you know …. it’s really pretty damn clever and such a refreshing change of listen.

And then I read the Press Release:  Jim has written music for the stage, for films and for Disney.’

It all makes sense now.

(In 1981, Jim had a record on Seattle radio called ‘Laboratory Rat‘ – just him, a piano and a crummy tape recorder. Here’s a modern version for you.)

(‘We Are All Famous’ is released through Green Monkey Records’ and available now – January 2013)

(8/10)

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