In approaching In The World Of Him
, it is useful to note that it is, in fact, a concept album
. However, before you go believing that Ms. Timms has made a left turn into Pink Floyd Land (Slogan: Ride the inflatable pig!), you should also note that her concept is of the "I'll record a song by song response to Exile on Main Street
" Liz Phair variety, rather than the "I'll record a thematically unified, allegorical exploration of my father's death and my bandmate's descent into madness" Roger Waters variety.
The "concept", here, is that Ms. Timms has used her considerable talents to cover an album full of songs concerning men. In addition, each of these androcentric songs (save one) was also written by a man. Obviously, the themes and rationales that one can read into this decision, and the album that results, are numerous; however, the disc's effectiveness comes from the subtlety of the theme as much as its pervasiveness. A listener might enjoy the album for years without making the thematic connection, but knowing the theme somehow makes the proceedings even more intriguing.
Sonically, In The World Of Him is top-notch. In the deconstructed, xylophone-accompanied opener, "Sentimental Marching Song", Timms reimagines an excellent song by her once-and-again bandmate Jon Langford. It's one of a number of Mekons-related tracks, the highlight of which is the Devo-esque background and whisper-sung vocal performance of the band's "Bomb". Other artists whose work Timms reimagines include Mark Eitzel ("God's Eternal Love") and Ryan Adams ("Fools We Are As Men"). Each track's performance is carefully considered, designed not only to highlight Timms's unique twist on the song's concept, but also to thematically unite the album as a whole.
The final piece, the only one composed by Timms herself, is a reimagining of the nursery rhyme "Little Tommy Tucker" in which the titular tot grows up, becomes a man, and dies (probably due to violence). It's a pretty but bleak end-note for this uniquely thought-provoking collection.