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Coming out of London, Just Jack made his debut back in 2002 with "The Outer Marker". Dropping long before his 2007 hit "Starz In Their Eyes" (which was followed-up by "Glory Days") it has him making his first attempt at getting up in the game with his Trip-Hop material, which was praised for its originality.
1. "Let's Get Really Honest"
Kicking things off here, we see that we have a tune that gently leads us into the flow of the release and gives us a chance to steadily get into the down-tempo stuff that you typically expect of Trip-Hop from this time (the early '00s). We see that Just jack sings for this one and I have to say that it didn't really appeal to me as we see him begin with a downer as he focuses-in on a relationship that has fallen apart over ghostly synth.
Changing things up for this one, we find that here he decides that he thinks that raps are more relevant this time around. Here we're shifted much more towards the UK Hip Hop side of things, but with heavy reliance on experimental techniques in the production, I felt that it was really an effort to connect with the music or feel what he attempt to do here as he tries to come with some thought-provoking stuff.
3. "Lesson One"
We find that here we're moved right into an interesting tune and one that gives you the perfect example of what The Streets' style was influenced by as you have to liken the spoken-word delivery of the lyrics with a cockney accent as what Mike Skinner is known for. I thought that it was nice to look at it for this, however I didn't think that it really offered much more than that (in spite of the fact that the words may seem to be quite deep on the face of them).
We get much more straight-forward Hip Hop beats for this one and I thought that it was a good move in order to make things much easier to engage with and get down to. We find that from these, the vocalist comes to sing and rap whilst in a deep, dark and intense mood which you have to really have to connect with to get anything from. I thought that it was another that wasn't really for me and that things wouldn't really get any better from this point.
5. "Deep Thrills"
We get more deep and trancey Trip-Hop material from this one as we find that we get more 'soulful electronic music' coming out of the production (which is heavily-reliant upon the synthesizer). Using these as a foundation, we have Just Jack rhyming with a socially-conscious mind as he's trying to put of new point of view of things which may perhaps not received any real thought in day-to-day life.
We finally see things open up where the production is concerned for this one. I thought that it was long-overdue, and you find that you look towards this one for comfort as the first signs of moving towards music that makes an effort to connect to the listeners through some nice grooves in the synth (in addition to a Eric B & Rakim sample), and from there he does a decent job at doing a mid-tempo tune which a little bit more going on.
7. "Eye To Eye"
Here we see that we get a tune that has him deciding that it's about time to get into a little more of the relationship-based stuff. We find that he decides to base things around typical situations you would typically find yourself a partner in and how things may be when going through rough patches. Although I admired the interesting subject-matter and the way he presents it, I can't say it was really one for me at all.
Here we see that that things get lively as here we get the first full Hip Hop tune on the album. I really didn't expect it to come, but having it here you have to enjoy it (as you won't get another chance like this time have fun on the thing) and so here we have him jumping on top of some freaky Breakbeats and some horns to show that he can get funky as well as being as cold as you could ever possibly could get.
9. "Snapshot Memories"
This is a strange on on the album as we see that at first we get into the sort of underground UK Hip Hop that came in from around the mid-nineties and then suddenly it breaks out into a tune that takes directly from the early to mid eighties Electro-Hop sound out of New York City, before it then changes up and returns to that kind of thing. I thought that it was an unexpected inclusion to the album, but gives a nice understanding of where his influences have come from.
10. "Triple Tone Eyes"
Here we have more of the spacey things that came through towards the start of the album. We also find that Just Jack turns much more towards singing out the lyrics. I thought that this suited the fact that we see that here we get a very nice live-instrumental Drum & Bass track. Although there's obviously electronic breaks thrown-in too, having live drumming gives this one a raw feel and finally brings a lift to the record.
11. "Ain't Too Sad"
The final proper last one the album, we see that here we're given a tune that has him slowing bringing things to a relevant close. We see that this comes in the form of a dark one where he gets to the singing about having his partner just leave him without any sort of notice. Although this may be the case, he's seen to focus on the positives of this and how he'll more on from here, but I still can't say it was my thing.
I thought that this was an interesting alternative album. I'm sure that fans of The Streets and other such acts with an experimental head on attacking Hip Hop will be into this, but I have to say that the down-tempo Trip-Hop end of things just wasn't suiting my tastes and the monotonousness of it meant that I couldn't engage with it for its full duration.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Let's Get Really Honest
2 Paradise (Lost & Found)
4 Deep Thrills
6 Eye To Eye
8 Snapshot Memories
9 Triple Tone Eyes
10 Ain't Too Sad