Pillbox

Woon resurrects old-school R&B

Jamie Woon is a rising British rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. His first release was Wayfaring Stranger EP in 2007, but the budding artist only received significant acclaim after the release of the single “Night Air” in 2010. Woon released his debut studio album Mirrorwriting on April 18. This album includes both slow melodies and strong rhythms. The hypnotic tunes and the soft, smooth voice of Woon together revive key elements of ’90s old-school R&B.

The song “Night Air” in particular has an alluring beat and a calm, flowing melody sung by Woon. The melody sounds like a soothing lullaby, and Woon’s vocals are certainly soft enough to make the listener enter a state of relaxation — yet the steady rhythm pounding softly in the background is upbeat and has a very danceable quality.

“Lady Luck” is reminiscent of the ’90s and has a very catchy and upbeat rhythm. Woon’s sultry vocals have a jazzy appeal in this song, while the mesmerizing background music maintains a captivating rhythm.

A song that illustrates Woon’s talents very well is “Spirits.” This beautiful a cappella weaving of harmonies also showcases Woon’s ability to beatbox. The song begins with a single layer of beatboxing, and more and more vocal layers of harmony are added. Once the intricacies of the song completely materialize, the song sounds like a spiritual, as the title suggests.

“Spiral” is a very calm and soulful song that truly embodies the blues element of R&B. The sensual vocals are spaced out over a slowly streaming accompaniment of the guitar and other instruments. This is yet another song on the album that exemplifies the meaning of tranquility.

“TMRW” has an upbeat, hip-hop style. This is one of several songs on the album that seem to urge the listener to dance. The powerful throbbing rhythm, together with Woon’s vocals, creates a bold, spellbinding charm. This is one song on the album that seems to emit a strong attitude and personality.

Woon’s music is a breath of fresh air for anyone who appreciates both new- and old-school rhythm and blues. In a day when modern R&B is so much different from the older style, Woon is bringing back the soulful essence that R&B currently lacks. Woon certainly does incorporate the rhythm and the blues in his music while also sustaining a modern appeal. This album beautifully demonstrates Woon’s remarkable talent and distinctive style.