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Jason Downs - The Spin


Review: Jack Foley

JASON Downs will freely admit that life took some unexpected turns for him following the success of his debut single and album, White Boy With A Feather.

The pressure of success, and of delivering a follow-up that both he and the studio could be proud of, began to take its toll, especially since each party had differing ideas.

Downs was intent to build on the formula that had proved such a catalyst in his rise - the ability to marry rich song-writing skills, with his trademark country/hip-hop style.

The studio, however, seemed intent on making him more commercial and more pop, which, in turn, led to a creative lull. And it took a frank wake-up call for Downs to get back on track.

But the wait has been worth it, for The Spin is every bit as good as its much-touted original, featuring Downs at his most laid-back and thought-provoking; not to mention party-friendly.

The artist, himself, states that ‘it’s fun; it’s a party album,…more or less; it’ll be a fun spin to play at parties, or on road trips’.

This is borne out in tracks such as Sing My Song (featuring Milk Dee), and former single, Shut Up (Hook Up), which demonstrate that the singer-songwriter has lost none of his flair for tapping into the highs and lows of life.

The beats retain their hip-hop vibe, while the guitars are rooted in country, and both serve to bring out the best in his low-slung drawl, which eases the listener into the right frame of mind for listening.

Yet, there is also a mixture of styles that serves to underline the artist’s determination not to become pigeon-holed in any one category, with a distinct blues vibe being employed during tracks such as the mid-paced ode, Everything Is Love, that neatly offsets more mainstream numbers, such as the commercially-minded, Things.

And there is even an element of 80s New Wave influences, epitomised by the arrival of synths and various electronic gizmos, on tracks such as album closer, Dirty Mind.

Hence, while comparisons with the likes of Chris Isaak and Nick Cave seem inevitable (and have been made), there is also an element of Beck in proceedings, while some of the raps contain the vocal dexterity of a Beastie Boys number.

There is barely a bad track on the long-player, with Downs seeming content to have found his rhythm, maintaining an outlook, throughout, which is both universal and achingly personal, tragic, while being heart-warmingly funny.

Anyone who became seduced by his flair on White Boy With a Feather had better seek out The Spin, for, as its name suggests, it will leave you’re head feeling giddy with excitement at the prospect of another musical belter.

Track listing:
1. Sing My Song feat Milk Dee
2. Shut Up (Hook Up)
3. Taste of the Action
4. Hot To Death
5. Got It Made
6. Everything Is Love
7. Heaven & Hell
8. Superstar
9. Perfect People feat John Lardieri
10. Things
11. Dirty Mind

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