'Lost In Space' by Jim Lea

Reviewed for by Ian Edmundson.

Jim Lea - Lost In Space


This is Jim’s first major studio release of any note since 2007’s Therapy album. That album was reissued with a collection of bonus tracks, not much of which sounded anything like his old band. That will have pleased some and baffled others.

This EP came about as Jim was asked to put a collection of tracks for release.

This version of the lead track on the EP features a much more involved arrangement than on the radio edit promo single and download. It’s commercial enough to do well, if it gets the radio plays. Lyrically Jim is having a bit of fun and it’s a bit of a word game, relying on rhyming words rather than any theme - as are most of his songs - rather than having any great message. He’s quite fond of this track, as it is more of a pop song than the other tracks on the EP. Jim pays all instruments and the strings throughout flesh out the backing beautifully.

Jim said: “Lost in Space was written deliberately as a pop song. Of all the songs I have come up with, this is one of my favourites. The ideas portrayed in the song are of someone spending their life living in an inner world, virtually oblivious to normal life. Some might say I have unwittingly written about myself!”

This song could easily have been a latter period Slade single, album track or at worst, a b-side. It has elements of songs like I’ll be there and Run runaway. However it is lyrically superior to an amount of Holder’s later lyrics. It refers to the big party at the Millenium, so you have to wonder when this song actually dates from. All of the tracks on this EP after the title track sound like they were recorded during the same session. Jim plays everything and it certainly sounds like Slade to an extent. But of course musically, Slade was always Jim’s baby, so it should be no surprise. The clue to this song’s origins may come from hearing the next track.

This song appeared on the WHILD EP from 1999. That EP did not sell particularly well, so the inclusion of such a good song here is quite forgivable. It appears to be the exact same recording and mix. Would Slade have gone in this direction, had they stayed together? It’s a driving, rocky, little song, harking back to the feel of Radio Wall Of Sound, with a great acapella section at the end. Jim's singing style on this is a sort of tired croaky drawl in places, which suits a number of these songs.

Jim Lea goes heavy. This has a fantastic groove and while it’s basically a twelve-bar blues, it has a great unison riff that sounds fresh and new. Lyrically, Jim has some fun again. A great chorus. I would personally have picked this as the lead track on the EP. The key change solo section is reminiscent of Slade and ZZ Top. Quality stuff.

This song was played at the 2002 Jim Jam gig (which again helps us to date the song) and appeared on the Live at the Robin CD. It has a great groove, similar in a way to ‘Fire’ by Jimi Hendrix, a track that Jim must have grown up with. Cracking stuff.

The Hendrix influence is still there. A great melodic rocker. Good lyrics and the ad libs under the guitar solo are pure Hendrix (remember "Move over Rover, let Jimi take over"). If the guitar solo was not up to it, this could have come off badly by comparison, but Jim throws in a great solo.

All of the tracks on this sound like they are played by a band, rather than one man, alone in the studio, which is quite an achievement. Jim's vocal style is far more assured and confident than one may have expected. The playing is concise and disciplined and the songs are all fully-formed. Creditably, for a one-man band, he certainly manages to generate a great live-in-the-studio feel. I suspect that the drums on all of these tracks were put together on a Linn drum or a similar sequenced machine, as no drummer is credited.

This release came about when Jim was asked to submit six songs for an EP. He should maybe have been asked to put forward a dozen and have called it an album.

Single 'Lost In Space' iTunes | Google Play | Amazon Music

Six track EP 'Lost In Space' released 22 June 2018
'Lost In Space' physical CD | download from iTunes - click here | Google Play | Amazon Music