Mr Hudson & The Library - A Tale Of Two Cities
Touted as mixing reggae and hip hop with singer-songwritery lyrics, Mr Hudson is seemingly one of the names to drop at the moment. Indeed, current single Too Late, Too Late doesn’t do a bad job of living up to the hype. With its juddering bass, steel drums and parping horns, it shows the best ear for reggae detail we‘ve had in some time.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing else on A Tale Of Two Cities that quite matches it. Those hip hop beats - when they’re around - are way too polite. While his lyrics are arguably more literate than the likes of Lily Allen or The Streets, musically this is far smoother and a lot less fun. Compare his approach to personal misfortune on Everything Happens To Me to, say, Mike Skinner’s It Was Supposed To Be So Easy. Bar a couple of instances of (mildly) strong language, there’s nothing to tie the former to "urban" music. Mr Hudson seems more interested in tinkling the ivories (while a rainstorm carries on in the background) - and he even mentions golf (of all things!). This is more typical of the album; a whiff of the old-fashioned, rather than excitingly multi-cultural and modern. Which isn’t to say it’s bad a record. Upon The Heath, for example, is rather poignant, even if it only appears to be about observing the city at night.
Perhaps the suit, hat and penchant for classic literature should give it away. A Tale Of Two Cities' smart lyrics and polished sound seem aimed at a more mature listener than one might be lead to believe.