BLACK MAGIC

JIM NOIR’S MUSICAL WIZARDRY AND LYRICAL NOSTALGIA ARE CONJURING UP A STORM…

Jim Noir is a one-man band who sounds quite unlike anybody else. A huge chunk of his splattergun approach is dominated by 1960s psych pop; all layered vocal harmonies, sweetly strummed guitars and sunshine melodies. Despite his origins in Manchester, Noir’s first single (October 2004) was thrown together from reclaimed harmonies bitten from The Beach Boys, riffs borrowed from Pete Townsend and string arrangements discarded by the Alan Parsons Project way back in the 1970s.

When it comes to the songs themselves, they are occupied with tree-climbing, kicking a football around, and inclement weather. “I’ve never really seen myself as a singer/songwriter,” admits Jim. “I see my music as a weird hybrid. Me and my mate used to mess around making dance tunes when we were kids. His dad was a folk musician who had an eight track and some mad instruments, and we’d utilise that stuff to make our own wacky tunes.”

From there, Jim started to record himself playing the drums, guitar and keyboards, and in fact played everything on the album. “It felt like I was doing more in physically recording instruments rather than simply sequencing samples or whatever, which is what dance music is all about isn’t it? I’d always been into The Beatles, and wanted to be in a band, but didn’t realise that I could do it on my own. I only decided to start singing a couple of years ago.”

And he still uses his old electronic way of doing things: “I’ll record maybe 10 seconds of drums, do something else, record that and then do something else. Because of that I’ve got absolutely millions of bits and pieces, but I prefer that way of working because I never feel any pressure to finish anything – I can just put it all together at my own pace.”

A demo sent to Twisted Nerve records in Manchester resulted in a deal with the nascent My Dad imprint. “I’d sent a CD of five tracks in – nothing serious, just to see what would happen,” Jim explains. “One of my mates was signed to the label; I liked some of the music and thought I might fit in. As it happened, the manager of My Dad was there at that time. He asked me if I had any more tracks but I hadn’t, so I had to write material for each single as I went along.”

“I kind of enjoyed that,” he adds, laughing. “It was a bit of a buzz to try and improve on what I’d done before, and with the album I wanted each song to be as good as the others. I find saying things on records quite difficult, but I guess all of my songs are about naivety and normality. Everything is a version of me in some way; I’m very polite and English but I can also be silly and eccentric and I think all of that is reflected in the songs.”

A growing buzz has resulted in a probationary deal with a major label. “It’s happened relatively quickly – I’d never expected it all to go quite this far,” he says. “They gave me some money and if I do well they’ll sign us properly, and if not they’ll say goodbye.” +

Tower of Love is out on My Dad in December, and is also available on www.stranger-shop.com