Alan Roberts, a.k.a. Jim Noir, is not the first British artist to sound like he woke up on the wrong side of the Atlantic. The 26-year-old's first album, 2005's brilliant 'Tower of Love', saw the unassuming bowler hat-wearing Mancunian indulge his love of West Coast psychedelic pop, while simultaneously adding his own quirky, lo-fi gradient to proceedings. Two of Tower of Love's tracks (Eanie Meany and My Patch) were so successful, even, that they were used in advertising campaigns by Adidas, Ginsters and US chain-store Target.
Far from becoming the next Moby, however, Noir retreated to his bedroom for three years to record its follow-up - and what a follow-up it is. Noir still dances with the same psych-pop style that informed his debut, but has stepped up his game on this occasion to include songs that are even fuzzier, wonkier and catchier than their predecessors were.
In fact, the most blatantly obvious reference point here is Super Furry Animals; more than a few of the 13 tracks here draw from the same well of meandering dream-pop and soft electronica that the Welshmen do. Similarly, opening track proper Alright uses a chorus of warm harmonies to accentuate its low-key thunk. What You Gonna Do and Same Place Holiday, meanwhile, are nifty nips of Beach Boys-esque pop heaven, while Welcome Commander Jameson is Noir's version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - all rattling layers of bleary instrumentation.
When listened to in one go, this album sounds like the embodiment of a fantastical dream. Admittedly, it's one that's perhaps a bit scatterbrained in parts, yet it could only be the result of a musician with a gleeful imagination, nevertheless. Welcome back, Mr. Noir.