Jim White No Such Place

Jim White is many things: a singer/songwriter of the soft-spoken rural variety; a beautiful writer skilled with the specific quirk of song-based storytelling; and with his second album, he's proved himself a musical visionary, able to mesh sounds and genres without seeming gimmicky, able to dance with a banjo and strum with the beats. (Of both the poetic and the dance variety.) But despite bringing to bear the hefty production skills of Morcheeba, Andrew Hale (Sade, Sweetback), Q-Burns Abstract Message and Sohichiro Suzuki (Yellow Magic Orchestra), each one of these songs could be strummed on a guitar and sung in a coffee house. "The Wrong Kind of Love" is a touching lament that utilises brushes and banjo instead of gentle trip hop beats, but hints enough in the direction of down-tempo dance that it draws a straight line from one to the other. It's not a deliberately esoteric experiment, like Neil Young's Trans, but rather White has found producers as skilled with sounds as he is with songs. It's an open-minded lesson in genre-bending; a lot of so-called "experimenters" would do well to take note. (Virgin)