Despite having already released one album, Jamie Woon has, in recent times, disappeared from the minds of many music fans. That’s because, as an advocate of putting his all into what he does, he’s spent four years putting together this latest offering.
“Message” begins with an instrumental introduction that runs for more than 30 seconds. Ideally, it could have been much shorter, but when the vocal kicks in, soulful and smooth, the wait is most certainly worth it. Lyrically, it’s a simple little number, but that is just one of the many things that makes it so appealing – the instrumentation and vocal blend together almost seamlessly – by some distance, it’s one of the strongest opening numbers to an album this year.
“Movement” ups the tempo somewhat (I dare you to try and resist tapping your feet) and as a result, ups the enjoyment, though it’s hard to pin-point just which aspect of the song makes it such a good listen. “Sharpness” meanwhile brings with it a sense of musical elegance and a rhythm that just begs for you to groove and sway to it, so when the complete style switch up that is “Celebration” follows on, to say it’s a surprise is a considerable understatement. It is also the weakest number of the collection so far, as the majority of the vocal is hidden under the jazz-style instrumentation.
Unfortunately, things don’t improve much with the arrival of “Lament” which is a slow, rather depressing number, a strong, sharp contrast from every track which has come before it. Thankfully the lull doesn’t last long and “Forgiven” begins to get things back on track thanks largely to a slick, R&B undertone and a good vocal, while despite how slow and subdued “Little Wonder” is, its simplicity, both in terms of the lyrics and instrumentation, makes it worthy of a few repeat listens, although it is likely to divide opinion as to whether it’s actually a good track or not.
“Thunder” kicks things up a notch rhythm wise but sadly that’s the best thing about it, as the vocal is strange and likely to irritate and/or baffle those who give it a listen. Lyrically, “Skin” is much better and plays upon the soulful style which Woon works with so well and he keeps that up via album closer “Dedication.” It would have been nice for Woon to close out the collection as well as he started it, and the song comes close to achieving said aim, but it lacks a certain something that would have made it truly memorable.
Despite having gotten off to a strong start, there’s a sense that Woon has been more open to experimentation with this album and that, unfortunately, is what lets it and, as a result, him down. Hopefully, should he record another album in the future, he’ll find what really works for him and produce something much more solid and enjoyable for his fans to listen to.