Jim Lea - Therapy (Expanded Edition) reissue album review

Cum on feel the pensive musings

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As an inspired writer, versatile musician and violinist inspired by Stephane Grappelli, Jim Lea was the dark horse of Slade. Noddy had the voice and sitcom charm, Dave had the boots and the Bacofoil suits, but Lea brought the songs that brought the noise. When his Slade days ended in 1991 he studied psychotherapy and became quite the existentialist, mentioning in his sleeve-notes here such themes as self-exploration and the human psyche.

Which isn’t to say his 2007 solo album (his only one under his own name), now reissued with unreleased tracks and a bonus 2002 live album, is dreary navel-gazing. Rather, he addresses his midlife crises with bold, ambitious pop songs, the scale of which suggest a Midlands Todd Rundgren or Brian Wilson. Lyrically stretching (Could God Be A Woman? he asks), they trade in solid rock tropes – think Cheap Trick or Raspberries – which he’s adept enough to re-energise, although once or twice you’re not sure if he’s aping or parodying Oasis.

The live album gives you all the Slade (and, er, Troggs) rock-outs you need, but Therapy itself is a more thoughtful bag of thrills.