Album: Just Jack <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Overtones, MERCURY
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Like Jamie T, Just Jack (Allsopp) suffers from the abiding stricture of hip-hop that requires exponents to "keep it real" when what is really needed is a bracing dose of the unreal, hyperreal or the downright surreal - anything to help listeners to escape his songs' grim procession of lairy pissheads and fuddled dopers. And that, as they say, is just the girls. But Allsopp has a sharper eye, and tongue, than Jamie T, with digs at small-scale, artificial pop stars - "happy-clappy trustafarians" - and compromised breadwinners juggling deceit and disillusion. "Hold On", a lament for a passing era, even acknowledges its protagonist's inevitable decline, Allsopp advocating, "Let's just hold on to what we got right now," one of the less inspiring manifestos of the new millennium. His musical landscape is more varied too, with slick funk bass loping lazily along, keeping guitars, string samples and rolling beats corralled towards the same goal. But ultimately, Overtones suffers from the fact that this territory has been covered with much more élan, and better melodies, by the Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Writer's Block", "No Time", "Starz In Their Eyes"