Hammond organs, lackadaisical guitar strums, loping bass lines
“Isn’t That What Jimi Said” is a reminiscence about the Summer holidays, and in my case, the ones spent in the South of Sweden. It’s about the Summers you have when you’re 16 years old. You fall in love with a strange girl and then you break up. Was it true love or just a Grease-style Summer loving fling? You’re not really sure and you don’t really know how to handle it.”
“The Jimi in question is actually Jimi Hendrix. It refers to the apocryphal idea that he smashed up his guitars out of sheer frustration because they weren’t able to sufficiently express the sounds he had in his mind. It’s the idea that the emotions you feel are sometimes so strong that you have no ability to express them in a reasonable way. You’re limited by the tools you’re given.
That can be painful to experience but it’s also something that can drive great art. Consider the DIY punk ethos. The technical ability you have to play is less important than the glorious, anarchic energy and sound you’ve created. It’s an imperfect statement of intent which sometimes sounds more authentic and beguiling than something that has been perfectly crafted.”
Featuring the talents of critically acclaimed French star Jean Felzine (Mustang) and his partner Jo Wedin (who delivers the song’s affecting Swedish monologue in her native tongue), its musical arrangements are resplendent in their Procol Harum-hinting Hammond organs, lackadaisical guitar strums, loping basslines and retro-soundbites seemingly plucked from seaside holidays gone-by. Think of Traffic’s Paper Sun revisited in 2022.
Directed by Gaétan Boudy, the single’s official music video utilises an old 8 mm film of Caesar Spencer as a child in Sweden and intimately ties in with the undercurrent of themes explored in the track.
As warmly nostalgic as it is winsomely reflective, “Isn’t That What Jimi Said” finds itself right at home on Caesar Spencer’s much-anticipated debut solo album: ‘Get Out Into Yourself’ (coming soon via New Radio Records); a record that shines a light on French musical artistry, while still finding place and purpose to pay homage to classic English pastoral-pop.
As an Englishman born in Peru, with Swedish roots, who now finds himself in France; the debut from Caesar Spencer continues in a long line of songwriters, from Scott Walker to Lee Hazlewood, Morrissey to Peter Doherty, who have long looked beyond their patch for a deeper sense of connection. Broadly echoing his own journey to date, Caesar’s debut ‘Get Out Into Yourself’, is a concept-album-of-sorts; inspired by those with nomadic origins and their search for identity. With a loose narrative that follows a protagonist journeying through different cultural landscapes, it unspools a tale laced with existential questions and the quest to find yourself in an ever-shifting world.