Singer-songwriter Tiff Jimber has been working very hard at promoting herself for the last few years. She has earned numerous high profile credits and awards, including three ASCAPLUS awards for songwriting. She books her own tours independently; no small feat considering she plays more than 100 shows each year. Her vocals have been featured in major motion pictures, including The Grudge (2004) and Hide and Seek (2005). Recently she covered Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite,” reinterpreting the dance track as a sensual ballad. The appropriately sexy video can be seen on Jimber’s YouTube page.
In keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit, her latest album Burning At Both Ends was financed via contributions (reportedly in excess of $10,000) from fans. The ten songs, all written or co-written by Jimber, are mostly piano-driven pop. In addition to piano Jimber also plays accordion, adding a welcome quirkiness to the songs it appears on. Jimber has a pleasant, though not striking, singing voice. Her songs are quite listenable, though aside from occasional accordion the arrangements are perhaps too conventional. The musicianship, courtesy of a four-piece backing band, is professional but lacking in passion.
That’s not to say Burning At Both Ends is without highlights. “Garage” is the best track, an autobiographical piece that offers a glimpse at the non-glamorous lifestyle of a working musician. The song serves as a mission statement with its genuine never-say-die attitude. “City Life” glides along agreeably, with a memorable chorus. “Skin Me” has a quasi-classical feel and the album’s strongest melody. The title track, featuring minimalist lyrics that echo the fortitude of “Garage,” closes the album with a racing tempo and high energy.
I guess I wanted to like the album overall more than I did. Jimber’s accomplishments in self-managing her career and promoting herself are so impressive, it pains me to say the music isn’t always particularly distinctive. Much of the album suffers from a blandness that saps the songs of the emotional impact they need. But at her best, Tiff Jimber quite obviously makes an impression as an artist to keep an eye on. To learn more, visit her official website, where Burning At Both Ends is also available as a deluxe release that includes a live EP.