Quick CD Review: Jamie Cullum – Momentum

Jamie Cullum — Momentum
(Island Records. Cursory CD Review by Sebastian Scotney) 

The first time I heard Jamie Cullum live was at the 2010 Cheltenham Jazz Festival. I wrote in a review that “every single person in a packed Cheltenham Town Hall appeared to have located [..] an inner pogo-stick which they probably never knew they possessed.”

Jamie is a Duracell battery full of energy. After a quick first listen to his new, unashamedly poppy, sixth studio album Momentum, released yesterday on Island Records, I realise that that first thought has never really gone away. If people are going to need music this summer to get them up and moving, feeling more energetic, then, honestly, look no further than the first few bars of the opening track, The Same Things, where Cullum’s vocals get spurred into action by Brad Webb‘s strong backbeat.

Because of particular circumstances, this is just a review of first impressions, written on the hoof. Our copy of the album arrived yesterday. Those in search of more discursive depth had better go straight off and seek out Peter Quinn, on superb form, over at The Arts Desk.

There are twelve tracks on the basic version of the album (there are also deluxe compilations, a DVD…) of which ten are originals. The other two are: Cole Porter’s Love for Sale, about which Andy Gill of the Independent has written that it is “pulled apart over a predatory funk groove that embodies the song’s sad streetwalker sass”, and which was accompanied by a creepy video. The other is a deliciously slow, reharmonized Newley/ Bricusse Pure Imagination. The tracks are all single length, and sometimes end abruptly, suggesting that they are really going to come into their own when they get stretched out on in live performance. An infectious rising bass riff in Anyway is definitely asking for that treatment.

There’s more for musos too, in all sorts of inventively used keyboard sounds throughout. Jamie Cullum has given clues in an article in Drowned in Sound about his Fender Rhodes collection.

Psychologists will have fun – won’t you? – with the ironic lyrics of When I get Famous. Out of the New Orleans brass chorus opening comes this little curve-ball: “When I’m looking from the top / You’re love seems smaller / Ain’t that what all us humans want / To stand that little bit taller.”

For the rest of us, there are tunes to make us stand straighter and be more energetic this summer,  and hopefully get us away from the sedentary slavery of our keyboards.Talking of which….

Categories: miscellaneous

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