Jamie Woon is an alumnus of the BRIT Academy, the alma mater of Amy Winehouse, but similarities with Mrs Fielder-Civil would seem to end there. Thus far Woon has eschewed public disintegration and overbearing bombast. Probably a good move on the former, but some sensible use of the latter might liven things up a little bit on this, his debut full length.
The gooey-soft beats never hurry, the music is built up spectrally, sparsely. This is bedsit music for the 21st century. Think the xx or Burial or someone like that who cherishes space above clutter, but imagine them fronted by Terence Trent D’Arby, except with out any pretence at flamboyance. At all times Woon seems to be in control of his environment. The music, which is never organic, doesn’t soar. He seems to keep his voice in check, as if afraid of waking the neighbours, or disinterring an emotion he’s been keeping in check.
It’s a shame, because when he gives us a chorus, it’s catchy; ‘The Middle’, (if you can forgive the irony free use of “gotta get up to get down”), ‘Street’, ‘Night Air’. The good stuff is good, the bad stuff is plain R & B. It desperately needs the moment when our hero dons his oversized, rhinestone encrusted leather jacket, bids an insouciant adieu to some half naked lovely he’s left knackered on the wolfskin rug, and jumps out the window to land on his vintage Triumph, disappearing into the night with scant regard for the rules of the road or the safety of his own handsome noggin, clad only in a floppy cloth cap. It just seems that’s what his voice is crying out for him to do. Put away the laptop, Woon, give Terence a call. The world needs a hero.