REVIEW: Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (7/10)

Jamie Woon makes use of the same minimalist aesthetic that has seen the rise of James Blake and has catapulted The xx to success in 2010. A Burial remix of “Night Air” only served to earn himself another stripe. It’s meant that there’s been no end of hype and his name being repeated on ‘Sound of 2011’ lists, but for every in-depth and enthusiastic article on this Brit School graduate there’s one scornful naysayer who’s critical of this exact qualification.

His debut effort ‘Mirrorwriting’ has been three years in the making and a lifetime in writing and recording. He has clearly paid attention to the details and simplicity that encompasses Burial’s work. Whereas Burial uses fresh beats to create an ambient and chilled soundscape to accompany an urban backdrop, Woon gives an album that offers subtlety without being withholding, enough emotion without being too earnest. Another notable difference between is that Jamie’s voice is framed front and centre throughout the album; tracks like “Shoulda” give the sort of minimalist serenity that would flowed quite well on The xx’s debut.

Yet tracks like “Lady Luck” is reminiscent of a slick r’n’b number; the sort you’d find on Justin Timberlake’s sophomore effort ‘Future Sex Love Sounds’. “Spirits” is another stand-out track; soulful crooning by Jamie as well as the sort of big beat (thats the sound not the sub-genre) production one would expect from Timbaland. ‘Gravity’ is a beautiful album-closer and takes things down to an even more chilled notch and accompanied by a soft acoustic guitar, it’s a track to unwind to.

Woon’s got soul, there’s no doubt about it. Stood up next to his contemporaries his sound is a lot more accessible.
It comes down to matter of preference, there’s enough here for the post-dubstep fan but it too often borders in territory thats not to my taste, hence the score has been dragged down. Which is a real shame as you can see the potential of Jamie Woon here, you really can. There’s moments of brilliance throughout just not enough to keep me coming for more listens.

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One thought on “REVIEW: Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (7/10)”

  1. There aren’t many accolades as off-putting as a ‘Sound of…’ recommendation. They are a double-edged sword and I think explain some of the scepticism. I shared that scepticism in Woon’s case and am happy to admit it was misplaced.
    There’s a warmth to ‘Mirrorwriting’ that permeates throughout. The quality of Woon’s performance on this collection will I’m sure make it a favourite through the summer. My only issue is that the album’s strengths (“Lady Luck”, “Night Air”, “Spirits”) served to remind that there should have been a greater number of such songs. As ever, it comes down to the quality of the songs.

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