Just Jack - Overtones
Record Label: Mercury Records
Release Date: January 30, 2007
British rapper Just Jack (aka Jack Allsopp) is a rather big deal in his homeland, but in America is virtually unknown. Why is this so? Well, that’s not entirely too clear. On his latest release Overtones he successfully tackles hip-hop, funk, pop, soul, and R&B with ease and efficiency.
Opening track “Writer’s Block” begins rather silly but its chorus and its verses are rather memorable. The second song “Glory Days” is an absolute smash and a definite iPod staple that calls to mind San Francisco band Luce’s happy-go-lucky single “Good Day.” “Disco Friends” is the ballad of the album and a cheery meditation on the British club scene, while “Starz in Their Eyes” peaked to number two in Britain for good reason. This song has everything that American radio stations love. While not nearly as charismatic as the first three songs, it’s entirely addictive and worth recommending to friends.
The album flattens out a bit in the middle, and even the addition of Kylie Minogue on “I Talk Too Much” can’t save Jack. But as good artists do, Jack rebounds strongly in the latter half of the album, especially on “No Time” and “Electrickery.” There are equal amounts of dance and techno in Jack’s sound as well as Mike Skinner’s sharp eye for detail. Listening to Just Jack is a lot like sitting in an airport and meticulously studying the people going by. He has that keen eye for observation and imparts wisdom on just about any issue. Much like Robbie Williams, Jack has the pinup good looks and innate arrogance that propels his artistic vision.
Though it's sensational in so many places, Overtones may bear the British curse that is so often the case in contemporary music. These days bands in Britain and Ireland have a harder time making it big in America. Good examples of this are the Scottish band Stereophonics and the British band Doves. Adding to the British curse is Jack’s status as a white rapper, which isn’t necessarily an easy endeavor.
In the mood for something light and breezy? A sunny record with a chill, no frills vibe? Give Overtones a listen.