Jim Noir - Tower of Love

Jim Noir
Tower of Love


First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7

Written by John Metzger


Judging from the outfits, layouts, and lighting choices utilized in his publicity photos, Jim Noir (née Alan Roberts) is obsessed with the distorted reality of René Magritte’s paintings. Not surprisingly, there’s a psychedelic haze that clings to his debut Tower of Love. Though it essentially cobbles together several new compositions with material that first appeared on a series of self-produced EPs, the album contains a decidedly cohesive air that embeds the lo-fi echoes and electronic touches of indie-rock within the radiant, sunshine-imbued pop of the 1960s.

Throughout Tower of Love’s 13-tracks, Noir demonstrates the sort of "kid in a candy store" exuberance that comes from having complete creative control over his music, while his lyrics harken back to an earlier, more innocent time. On the Teenage Fanclub-esque I Me You I’m Your, he playfully acknowledges the difficulties of finding a unique method of expressing himself, and within the harmonic beauty of My Patch lies an instinctual determination to defend his turf. In effect, his simplistic lyrics reveal the childishly impulsive thoughts that lie at the core of all human behavior, though, by the same token, they endearingly allow songs such as Turbulent Weather and A Quiet Man to exude a refreshingly genuine sense of wide-eyed optimism.

A self-proclaimed recluse — "I don’t get out much," he states on MySpace — Noir undoubtedly is a kindred spirit to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, and the insular decadence of Smile weighs heavily upon Tower of Love’s layered atmospherics. Nevertheless, there are other things happening beneath the surface of his work. In Noir’s rainbow-colored world, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd (How to Be So Real) collides with The Moody Blues (Eanie Meany, Climb a Tree), and Donovan (My Patch) commingles with a hybridization of The Beatles and The Monkees (Tell Me What to Do). Bathed in as much whimsical silliness as it is in melodic beauty, Tower of Love is an intoxicating brew of sugar cube-derived ebullience that is destined to brighten even the darkest of days. starstarstar ½

Tower of Love is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box