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Album Review

Four-plus years passed between Just Jack's debut, The Outer Marker, and his sophomore effort, Overtones. That's plenty of time for an U.K. garage rapper to fall out of favor — especially when the Streets are burning up most folks' patience for the genre like it was flash paper — and to make matter worse, Just Jack (real name Jack Allsopp) had to crawl over a heaping pile of criticism that his rhymes were whack after he climbed out of his four-year hole. Shocking everyone, this "slackadaisical" wonder overcame it all and was climbing charts and selling out shows as soon as Overtones was released in the U.K., thanks in part to Jack's being a friend of the oh-so-hot-in-2006 Lily Allen along with the hooks, the effortless delivery, and a general need for something softer and more hopeful than garage and grime normally offer. While Overtones is filled with moon-June-spoon-prune rhyme schemes and meaningless bits of slang, it all sits on a bed of instantly grabbing melody and smart arrangements. His lyrics aren't as bad as you've been sold, but his slumped shoulder delivery and the "I wore this same hoodie yesterday" way about him do make him a love-'em-or-hate-'em proposition. Those who love him are blessed with a generally positive album that's just made for sunny days and convertibles with kicking sound systems, not that Jack would ever admit he could afford one. The big hit single "Starz in Their Eyes" high karate kicks young hipsters with lyrics like "You used to be satisfied/Now you feel like Mick Jagger," while the good-feeling "Glory Days" comes right out and says "Dammit, I'm in love with this planet," backing up this statement with a properly bright horn section. Most of the lyrical content is closer to the latter than the former — minus "Lost," which is heavy, misplaced, and thematically out of reach for Jack — and the music is closer to Jamiroquai than the Streets or Dizzee Rascal. Add to it "Hold On"'s "You know you're getting older/When the kids on the corner/Get you baffled every time they speak" and that's practically the formula for hipster poison, begging for potshots. Overtones doesn't care about cool and would rather be an unaffected album, worth returning to anytime the uptight world needs to be shaken off.

Customer Reviews

Lyrically stunning, instrumentally inspired

This fantastic album should be on the top of everyone’s list for 2007. Jack begins with the catchy Writers Block and then it just gets better. His lyrics have meaning and purpose, are articulate and penned with passion. They are flourished with minute detail that one would normally overlook but simultaneously discuss everyday problems such as the lack of motivation to make a cup of coffee or the problem with Ikea furnishings. Whilst his music meanders with tenacity through a number of different genres, making Jack hard to lump into one musical dumping ground. From the electronic guitar rifts found in “I Talk To Much” to the pop perfection of “Starz In Their Eyes,” the dance beats lodged in "Disco Friends" and the feel good track “Glory Days” that already has the summer one step closer. The album closes with two tracks (Not time and Mourning Morning) making good use of strings to hit the emotional key, his lyrics taunt at. The hidden tracks are also excellent and you can hear the wink and smile on Jacks face in ‘Koolaid’. There is a noticeable lack of swearing, which may make some critics who compare Just Jack to other artists such as Plan B and Jamie T claim that they are more ‘real’. I’d disagree, whilst swearing does add some impact to a songs lyrics, they are often over used and eventually become meaningless. It’s refreshing to see an artist able to communicate his ideas and feelings without the endless repeating of the F word. Just buy it.


Ive been waiting for this album since i heared both the singles "writers block" and "starz in their eyes". It dosn't let down in any way what so ever- tune after tune- Just Jack is gona b huge 4 2007!!!

Writer's Block..

One moment where I know exactly what to say - From the Outer Marker to Overtones, Jack has developed so much as an artist and his progression is so evident but yet so well marked by his own achievements with the milestones he reached with the Outer Marker. Overtones is well worth the purchase, Starz In Their Eyes proves his appeal, specially with Radio One B list selection, which meant he actually got some realistic air time for people to acclimatise! Anyways... I Talk Too Much... Buy Just Jack!


Born: 18 May 1975 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Sometimes a little Madness can help a lot. Jack Allsopp -- better known as Just Jack -- had worked as a flower arranger, gardener, and cleaner ("anything to put crust on the table") before he landed a job at RGRecords. Allsopp casually handed over a copy of his demo to the label's owner, Chas Smash, the man who used to sing and dance up a storm in Madness. Smash fell in love with Just Jack's sound and quickly signed Allsopp to a four-album deal. It was a long time coming for the Camden, England rapper....
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Overtones, Just Jack
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Customer Ratings