Jim Noir Tower of Love

By taking such a mysterious pseudonym and donning a bowler hat, Jim Noir (whose real name is Alan Roberts) is trying to hide behind a musical mask. But what a finely constructed mask it is. He’s already been well and truly noticed, with Adidas using one of his songs — the football themed "Eanie Meany” — for their World Cup ad. Noir has also found himself getting more than his fair share of comparisons to fellow Mancunian Badly Drawn Boy, and they turn out be pretty fair too because not only do they have similar voices, but Tower of Love possesses some of the same magic that The Hour of Bewilderbeast had. He sounds equally comfortable with the Kinks, Super Furry Animals, the Beach Boys and even the baroque touches of the Zombies, and he brings them all together to create a remarkably cohesive record considering the majority of the songs were released separately on EPs. With simple tunes and childlike lyrics, it would be easy to disregard the beautifully intricate arrangements, yet they are the things that really make his songs so special. Naturally, it doesn’t hurt that he knows how to write a catchy tune too. Tower of Love is a quintessentially English album (in the best possible way) and a wonderfully understated record that is a joy to listen to. (Barsuk)