Track-by-Track: Jimi Goodwin on "Odludek" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Track-by-Track: Jimi Goodwin on “Odludek”

Doves Frontman on His Debut Solo Album

Mar 28, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

A new Doves album may not be in the cards in the near future, but the group’s frontman, Jimi Goodwin, has broken out on his own for his debut solo record, Odludek, which was released this week on Heavenly Recordings. Instead of being riddled with the catchy numbers that Doves seems to have an endless supply of, Odludek experiments with different styles and instruments, resulting in a more eclectic collection of songs. “The usual desire to write songs and create” is the simple answer Goodwin gives to the question “Why a solo album?”, and “Me, on my own, collaborating with myself” is the accomplishment with Odludek that he wouldn’t have been able to do were it a Doves album. Here, Goodwin breaks down Odludek track-by-track.

“Terracotta Warrior”

Jimi Goodwin: I wrote an early version of this around 2009 and submitted it to Doves for possible inclusion on our Best Of, which came out in 2010. We worked on it a little, but it didn’t make the cut. We were developing lots of ideas around this time and this one fell through the cracks. When I started making Odludek, I remembered this and worked it up some more. I knew it would be the perfect opener for an album. With those big brass stabs, it’s like a clarion call, a call to arms. The verses are like a love poem to the music, in this case, music: my love and passion, an elemental force.

“Didsbury Girl”

Along with “Terracotta Warrior,” this is the oldest song on the record. I first demoed a version of this song back in 2004. The final version was in collaboration with producer and writer Simon Dine, who goes under the moniker Noonday Underground. Simon was pivotal in pushing it, and me, in a new direction and helped give it that psych-soul feel in the middle. I have no problem going back to old stuff if I feel it is still relevant. It’s great that something I did a decade ago still had a heartbeat and was worth developing. It’s heartening to realize that you never know when you’re going to find a home for a song or idea. I once read Leonard Cohen talking about some songs taking decades to write. I love that. Not that I can compare myself with the man, but [if it’s] good enough for Leonard to take his time, good enough for me.

“Live Like a River”

I first developed this as an instrumental. It was in a different key and the arrangement was a little directionless. I dropped the key of the groove and it seemed to make it darker and more mysterious. Lyrically, I was inspired by a letter Ted Hughes wrote to his son. Near the end he mentions a quote he attributes to the Buddha, “Live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.” Bang! Pow! Those sentiments hit me so hard and resonated deeply with me. I had the chorus.


The lyrics were co-written with my good friend Guy Garvey [of Elbow]. He was demoing some ideas in Real World Studios in Bath, England, and because I was in that part of the world recording as well we finally made good on our longstanding promise to collaborate. I had the backing track, the chorus refrain, and the first verse of “Hope,” and together we just brainstormed. I nipped to the shop to buy some writing suppliescoffee and cigarettes, essentialand when I got back, Guy had written the second verse. Sweet! A slice of dreamlike folk. A gaggle of good friends are on backing vocals.

“Man v Dingo”

An absurdist poem for an absurd world.

“Keep My Soul In Song”

The backing track is pretty much a straight-up sample of the left-hand speaker of a track called “Monkey Demon” by Orpheus. I added some other textures: clarinet, guitars, glass bowl vibes, and additional drums. I just fell in love with the music and it inspired me to write a new song over the old. Lyricallyoh, the usual confusion, but to me, the title and refrain felt like an old Irish proverb or maxim: Keep your soul in song, look after yourself, love yourself, love others, may ye have a song in your heart always.

“Oh! Whiskey”

A country blues song about, you guess it, whiskey! It’s all in there and I don’t have to add any explanation…cough…ahem.

“The Ghost of the Empties”

Inspired by real and imagined walks through Manchester City Centre over the years and of the streets and the shared family history of the streets my mum and dad and family grew up in. Memories.

“Lonely At the Drop”

Possibly the only time I’ve ever been woken up in the middle of the night by a lyric and idea and actually been able to see through the sleep fugue and had the clarity and uncharacteristically non-lazy notion to write it all down. This record overall, for me, is about really going with my instinct and gut impressions and learning to really, really trust them.

“Panic Tree”

Inspired by a beautiful old gospel song called “Lift Him Up, That’s All” by Washington Phillips. Guy Garvey and I vowed that whenever we finally got a chance to collaborate, this idea would be the jumping-off point. It was. Instinctively, I always knew it would be the final song of the record, even before it was finished, just as I knew “Terracotta Warrior” would be a great opener. A meditation on fathers.


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