In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of 60s-pop-influenced acts, but most fall in the female realm (Amy Winehouse, The Pipettes, etc). Only one male comes to mind on the other end – Jamie Lidell – until now. On Bittersweet Batch, Jesse Dee channels the soul greats to bring songs that are both fierce tribute and smart updates to the past.
Dee wastes no time laying out that he knows his history, hitting the tenets of soul in quick order on the sublime “Alright”. Organ, guitar, drums, saxophone, and ultra-dramatic horns immediately engage the listener, and pave the way for “Around Here”. Still carrying on the 60s feel, it fashions itself into a relevant update of the sound as opposed to a carbon copy.
The rest of the album follows this basic idea, mixing nods to the past – like the slow dance of “New Blades of Grass” and “My Two Feet” where clangy piano and muted trumpet intersect show where jazz and rock and roll careened into each other long ago – with newer-sounding fare.
Along with “Alright”, other key tracks on Bittersweet Batch is the gritty, choir-filled, country-blues twinged call to live life that is “Alive & Kickin'” and “Remember Me”, which begins stripped down with voice, acoustic guitar, and resonant piano and blossoms into a full band number featuring slide guitar.