Album: Tinchy Stryder, Catch 22 (Island)

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The Independent Culture

Tinchy Stryder may be the second-biggest name in grime, but Catch 22 suggests he's more in the mould of Akon than Dizzee Rascal: there's little of Dizzee's bonkers charm about these tracks, and plenty of Akon's reliance on auto-tuned hooks and romantic themes.

Indeed, when not reflecting on his success, Tinchy's time seems mostly taken up with oiling his way into girls' affections, trying to extricate himself from their clinging attentions, or apologising for mistreating them. By the sound of it, his love-life could be a full-time occupation, were he not so focused on business. "I'm swimming in the deep end," he says in "Pit Stop", "small fish, but tell those sharks I'm creeping." But while his support slots with Akon have clearly paid dividends, I'm less convinced about his reliance on Craig David's right-hand man Fraser T Smith, who produces around half of these 17 tracks in a manner which lacks the idiosyncratic invention which best serves the rapper. Compared to the way that Rapid, for instance, whips up a whirlpool of background voices to represent Tinchy's dreamworld in "Shake Me", Smith's blending of dubstep synths with venerable acid-house breakbeats for "Spotlight" just seems tired and lazy. If, as Tinchy claims in "Take Off", "music, I live this, I caught it like a sickness", he should be pushing the envelope a bit harder.

Download this: Shake Me, Pit Stop, Warning

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