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Park Bench Theories

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Album Review

Following a brace of 2004 Top 30 singles, support slots with Ginuwine and Mario Winans, and an appearance in street-dance flick Step Up, Jamie Scott was poised to become the next big British R&B star. However, the singer/songwriter spent the subsequent three years following the shelving of his debut album, Soul Searching, concentrating on a much more organic stripped-back acoustic sound that has more in common with the '70s AOR of James Taylor and the mellow soul of Donny Hathaway than the modern urban production of Craig David and Jay Sean. With claims that he never listened to contemporary music while growing up, the self-taught multi-instrumentalist's first album to be officially released, Park Bench Theories, does indeed sound like it could have been recently discovered in a dusty vinyl collector's basement. With backing by his regular five-piece band, the Town, its 13 heartfelt and melodic tracks, co-written with the likes of Linda Perry (P!nk), Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall), and Tracie Ackerman (Kylie Minogue), all possess an effortlessly timeless feel that belies Scott's young age. The shuffling percussion, bluesy piano chords, and flashes of electric guitar on "London Town" recall the organic folk of early Paul Simon, "When Will I See Your Face Again" is a beautifully understated melancholic ode to a lost love, and the chiming guitars and driving chorus of "Changes" echo the tender indie balladry of Coldplay's Parachutes. Best of all is the epic "Shadows," which begins with sparse acoustics and a gorgeous lilting piano hook and ends in a powerful but subtle crescendo of soaring violins and distorted feedback. Of course, the album's most powerful weapon is Scott himself, whose wondrous jazz-soul tones, part John Mayer, part Jeff Buckley, part Stevie Wonder, are able to elevate the occasionally bland and samey production into an engaging listen. He may share the same first name as fellow retro-inspired guitarist/songwriters Morrison and Blunt, but Park Bench Theories proves that Scott is undoubtedly the more authentic proposition. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Having bought the album every song grows more and more on me. Jamie has got a great voice and an amazing talent when it comes to writing music. 'Standing in the Rain', 'When Will I See Your Face Again' and 'Weeping Willow' were my favorites to begin with. After seeing Jamie at his concert was when I got my new favorite songs 'Changes' 'Runaway Train' and 'Shadows'. He's absolutely brilliant live! I honestly don't have a single negative to say about this album and that happens rarely. Jamie Scott and the Town are a must to listen to!

Park Bench Theories, Jamie Scott & The Town
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Customer Ratings

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