Sunday, May 22, 2011

jamie woon: mirrorwriting (candent songs)

forthcoming in inpress:

It was inevitable really, just a matter of time before the sonic language of dubstep got appropriated for the purposes of an otherwise completely conventional pop framework. On his debut record Mirrorwriting, Jamie Woon does to dubstep what Craig David and Daniel Bedingfield did to UK garage, what the Eurythmics did to new wave and what Cliff-bloody-Richard did to rock’n’roll: that is, to take a vibrant, interesting and important new sound and make it safe, insipid, and, sadly for those of who actually give a shit about music, popular. Woon placed fourth in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll.

Lets be clear. I have nothing whatsoever against fusion or hybridity. Woon can count as his peers in the dubstep-crossover market James Blake, Darkstar and Subeena amongst others, all of whom are great. But there’s a big difference between fusion as a way of fashioning something genuinely new and fusion as a mask for a total lack of originality. James Blake this ain’t. There’s nothing remotely exciting here. This is the same old R’n’B with the same old utterly vapid lyrics and the same old ever so sincere and soulful but actually completely unaffecting vocals. The only difference is that on Mirrorwriting Woon’s tarted it all up with dubstep’s patented glitchy bleeps, pitched voices and a whole lot of reverb.

Mirrorwriting isn’t actually as bad as a lot of pop you’ll hear this year. But it’s a particularly disappointing example because Woon is clearly a pretty talented chap. He’s got a good voice, an ear for a tune and has evidently been hanging out in all the right places. As a result, it’s a real shame that, where his early demos and singles showed some definite promise, this record has wound up being such a massive bore.

james parker