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Boomkat Product Review:
Electronic soul-bot Jamie Lidell returns to Warp with another long-player, and this time Beck and Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor share production duties, with an all-star cast fleshing out the personnel elsewhere. Various other people from the Grizzly Bear camp get involved, as do members of Wilco, along with Leslie Feist, Nikka Costa and Chilly Gonzales. The record commences with a bit of a dictaphone beatbox jam, 'Completely Exposed' introducing itself in unassumingly raw, and lo-i and lo-fi fashion befitting its title. Soon enough, Lidell's confident and undeniably virtuosic tones find themselves accompanied by a more fulsome production. In fact, it verges on outright messiness. Thanks to all the contributors and the hyperactive electronics Lidell often finds himself fighting his way through a heavily crowded mix. He's got the chops to cut through, but sometimes you've got to put a bit of work in to locate the essence of the song. After a few listens this proves to be a major positive, and Compass has real lasting appeal: 'Your Sweet Boom' is another terrific mess, with Lidell's vocal tuned downwards and morphed into an almost Fever Ray-like alien stupor. Elsewhere, the rewired funk of 'I Wanna Be Your Telephone' (complete with Prince-like synth twitches) proves a winner, and the more organic fare like the feel-good romp 'Enough's Enough' or weighty funk outing 'The Ring' sound very strong indeed. The album closes nicely too, crunching through the overheated gospel of 'Coma Chameleon', ultimately wrapping up with 'You See My Light' whose lamenting brass and woodwind might just prove to be Compass' finest moment; certainly it's nice to hear Lidell calming down a little, and his vocal performance could hardly sound sweeter or more considered.