Over the course of five years and three albums, enigmatic Manchester singer Jim Noir has been diligently reconstructing his persona. Even before listening to a note of his output, Noir’s appropriation of Vic Reeves’ real name as his nom de plume paints him as a detached, otherworldly and cryptic being; an image his back catalogue does little to dispel. A sometimes brilliant kaleidoscopic cocktail of Magic Roundabout, twisted carousels and Sixties psychedelia, Noir’s music has often fostered the notion that he spends a fair bit of time orbiting his own head. Zooper Dooper is no different. Strewn across the six tracks is the very essence of what has made his output at times so enjoyable, laden with a slew of unfortunate reasons why he is unlikely to progress in sound or status anytime soon.
One of the most compelling affections of good music is its ability to transport the listener to another place. In that respect, the best moments of Zooper Dooper are cathartic. Noir’s compositions are formulaic and simple. The opening track ‘Kitty Cat’, which despite being instrumental recalls Badly Drawn Boy, sees him seize upon a riff, then spend three minutes drawing it out and looping it back and forth in hypnotic fashion. Similarly, when Noir uses a vocal, it’s looped and repeated amongst the reverb drenched whirs and bleeps for the track’s duration. The set highlight ‘Map’, pulls it off spectacularly but in other cases (‘She Flies Away With My Love), the lyric plays out ad naseum.
And there lies the problem with this EP. When Jim Noir first entered our psyche with the wonderful Tower Of Love, he was a hugely exciting prospect: brimful of ideas and with an unpredictability that left you hanging on every note. Too often here he seems trapped: caged in by the one idea and unsure of where to take it next. The title track is advertising fodder, sure, but as a centerpiece is lightweight and forgettable, desperate for an injection of freshness: a new perspective. If it’s forthcoming, then there’s every chance Noir’s next record could be a game-changer. Otherwise, though, we both may find ourselves singing the same tune, over and over again.
Originally published at The Line Of Best Fit