I'm Not Jim You Are All My People (Bloodshot) Reinvention is supposed to be one of pop music's basic urges, yet few stars try the smart shtick. For an art form that thrives on saying close to nothing, buying lyrics from a novelist or poet with a reputation for meaning, or using a dead writer's words for free, would seem to be an obvious new angle. Rock stars have no problem working with pompous fashion and music. Appearing pretentious in words that most fans won't even hear is terrifying. Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, William Burroughs and Jim Carroll have had rock gigs. Patti Smith and Gil Scott-Heron were writers before they rocked. New York band One Ring Zero e-mailed favourite writers to ask for lyrics in 2004. Rick Moody, Dave Eggers, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Lethem were among the replies for the album on which they scored songwriting credits, As Smart As We Are. It must have got Lethem thinking. After 30 years as a fan, the author of novels such as The Fortress of Solitude introduced himself to alt-country trail breaker Walter Salas-Humara, of the Silos, and suggested forming the band I'm Not Jim. Note for rock fans who fear a writer will only produce a concept album: Lethem wanted a band to help him escape the structural constraints of his fiction and essays. He even had the grace to step aside during the recording and let the musicians sort the sound. Lethem is not heard on the album, but Salas-Humara lets his ideas breathe with lo-fi post-punk, funky blues, ballads, spoken word and light electronica. He visited Lethem on the beach in Maine, drank his beer for a couple of days, watched him type their conversations and turn them into lyrics in near-real time. If You Are All My People hasn't quite consummated rock's flirtation with literature, it reveals enough chemistry to buy another round and continue the conversation.