Ever wonder what it sounds like inside Jimmy Urine’s head? If it’s anything like his new album, The Secret Cinematic Sounds of Jimmy Urine, it’s old school video games, 80s dance, and lots of synth. The LP from the Mindless Self Indulgence frontman collects songs and compositions he wrote for various projects, including video games and movies. From start to finish, it’s an infectious, energetic sonic journey through Urine’s mind. It’s hyper, bouncy, catchy, weird, and sometimes a little unnerving, like the frontman himself.
Those expecting to hear the next MSI album will be disappointed. The only track that comes close to sounding like the band is the infectious opening track “Fighting with the Melody” from Metronomicon. It’s an upbeat romp full of squeaky synth and Urine’s unmistakable falsetto vocals that would easily fit on any MSI album. It’s catchy and has that edgy, in your face vibe MSI pulls off so well, making it a stand out track. Luckily, this is the only moment on the album where such similarities can be made.
Rather than sounding like a random collection of songs culled from Urine’s projects, the album has an excellent flow. The first half is filled with hyper, high energy tracks that make you feel like you’re in an 8-bit game. “Final Level” has a thrilling build up as if preparing for your last quest, while “End Boss” sounds like it’s on edge and filled with tension, capturing what it feels like facing the hardest boss of the game. “Phase” is catchy and makes you want to dance, but there’s still a looming threat with sinister chiptune laughing tossed in the mix.
The second half of the album finds the mood shifting from hyper 8-bit grooves to mellow, airy, atmospheric tunes. Songs like “Patty Hearst,” “Aching Addicted Affection Again” and “Salome” still have plenty of synth rhythms and beats, but it’s more subdued. Closing track “Based on a True Story” sounds more dramatic and has this air of finality to it, which makes sense considering it’s the last song on the album. These tracks are relaxing and in some instances, quite lovely. Hearing these songs puts you at ease; you’re ready to let the music take you away. The great flow makes the album feel complete as if your journey is over.
The one song that interrupts the flow is the weird “All Together Friends.” With the upbeat, bright music, sugary lyrics, and overly sweet vocals it sounds like a track from an educational kid’s program. It’s a little off-putting, especially since it repeats the same lyrics over and over. But the song takes an eerie, dark turn at the end when the synth amps up taking over the music. Suddenly, the mood changes from happy to sinister. At this point, you’re not sure where things are headed. The unexpected ending almost makes this song worth it. If anything, it’s a good example of how far Urine can stretch his musical range. Still, listening to the album from start to finish, it’s clear each track was carefully placed, making it sound like something you experience rather than just listen to.
Spanning 14 tracks, it runs the risk of being repetitive or dull, but Urine avoids this with unique and memorable compositions. Each song stands out on its own and invokes different moods. Some are bright and upbeat making you feel good and full of energy. Others have a more sinister tone making you check over your shoulder. The music keeps you engaged by constantly shifting and changing. Songs like “I Want to Be Human” and “Not For Me” have so many layers it’ll take several listens to get to them all. It’ll start out with ear-catching synth and an infectious beat, but the music keeps building on top of itself pushing it further than you could imagine. There isn’t a dull moment found on this album, which isn’t always easy when it comes to instrumental records.
The Secret Cinematic Sounds of Jimmy Urine is a thrilling sonic experience. It not only shows what he does outside of the world of MSI, it’s insanely catchy. These hypnotizing tracks will get stuck in your head for days. This is an album you put on to unwind and let your mind wander for an hour or so, letting you take a break from life’s distractions. The songs stand out ensuring they’re not MSI repeats, but there’s still Urine’s unmistakable style layered in all the tracks.
The Secret Cinematic Sounds of Jimmy Urine comes out April 28 via The End Records. Pre-order your digital, CD or vinyl copy here.