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Just Jack The Outer Marker

Just Jack will earn inevitable comparisons to The Streets because he's British, an erstwhile rapper and a man with a fondness for confessional, at times maudlin, lyrics. Regardless, The Outer Marker is far more like an album Jamiroquai would make. The opening track, "Let's Get Really Honest," is sort of '70s pop funk meets DJ Shadow (minus much actual funkiness), while the cocky strut of "Contradictions" recalls the heyday of acid jazz. All the while, Jack moves between a honky R&B croon and cockney spoken word, both of which are plucky, but not very heartfelt. Some of the beautifully (over)produced beats on this album are enjoyable, but it never lives up to the sum of its influences, from Stereo MCs to Massive Attack to Mr. Skinner himself. The Outer Marker is not a convincing record-it just seems that Jack...doesn't really know jack.

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