King Of Woolworths

“Jon Brooks’ third album as King of Woolworths finds him continuing to explore his fascinations with vintage film soundtracks and library music, analog synths, and 1960s lounge exotica. The lovingly crafted and unfailingly pleasant results are reminiscent of similarly inspired acts like Air and Stereolab, and of fellow downtempo electronica artists like Lemon Jelly and Boards of Canada. That may make Brooks seem like an imitator of already derivative artists, but he clearly has a flair for the material and his own remarkably authentic approach to it, as well as a knack for sweet if forgettable melodies. Although whooshes and burbles and all manner of grainy synth textures abound, he tends to downplay any electronic elements that sound more recent than the mid-’70s.

Only a few tracks (“Big Sur” and the mildly menacing “Yellow World”) have beats big enough to overtly reference dance-based electronic forms (most notably trip-hop), while much of the album, starting with the lovely two-part clarinet-led opener “Coccolo,” is almost wholly organic in feel, if not in substance, hitting many of the primary reference points (vibraphones, harpsichords, wordless vocals, lush string orchestration, Latin percussion) of his target styles without seeming especially corny or gimmicky. In all, an enjoyably chilled-out and cohesive effort. “The Loner” is a cover of the theme to the 1970s British TV series Budgie. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi” in iTunes