British psych-pop troubadour Jim Noir has been tagged as a Beach Boys fan on a Badly Drawn Boy budget, but really, he's in thrall to any musician who can write one good line and one unforgettable hook. Noir's debut album, Tower Of Love—compiled from three sold-out EPs, with some extra tracks—follows songs around in circles, working through repeated choruses, plunked guitars, and one-note organ lines to construct a sound that's like the softer side of the 1960s' British Invasion, in a thrift-store coat. The record feels small but impeccably crafted, like a toy soldier.
All the tight repetition means that Tower Of Love's songs tend to stick, though not in an irritating, TV-theme kind of way. A kind of hummy calm runs through the record, even when Noir is working through a more experimental piece like "A Quiet Man," which starts as a pleasant roundelay and then gets jumpier and more abstract. Chalk the strong sense of mood up to Noir's confidence that he can command his cabinet of miniature sounds and make them do what he wants, right down to the coda of his jaunty "Turbulent Weather," where he makes rainwater sound like applause.