Eamon - I Don't Want You Back

Nah, this is all wrong. Eamon? You serious? I'm called Eamonn and I ain't a rapper. Guys called Eamonn, be it with one 'n' or two, don't rap. We, y'know, dream of being in bands, prop up Sunday evening rural television shows with foolish, get-rich-quick schemes and look uncomfortable in sports gear that leaves too much room around the crotch. Eamon? It's like having MC Herman or hearing that NWA have reformed with Cyril on the mic and Alfred on the wheels of steel!

Eamon's credibility won't be helped by learning of his fronting of his father's doo-wop band but if the urban music scene can forgive both his name then the lapses in taste of a nine-year-old boy should not be beyond them. That's not to say, however, that Eamon has held off on the doo-wop as I Don't Want You Back, following hip-hop's obligatory spoken introduction, features Eamon's rapping over the swingbeat of a big band and the swirl of strings on I Love Them... More gentle than most r'n'b and closer to the soul of Marvin Gaye than the hip-hop of The Wu-Tang Clan, Eamon's music replaces the traditional hip-hop blunts and low-riders with champagne and a Bentley.

But to go too far into comparing him to the bastard child of Bertie Wooster and Lil' Kim would be to ignore the single, Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back), in which Eamon lays down a dismissal of a two-timing ex-lover in 3m40s. Already the subject of a debate on Radio 4 and only one half of a response by the subject of Eamon's song, which is likely to be the first in a serious of responses in which the one-time couple finally resolve who gets the cat, the lyrics of Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back) disguise its easygoing charm and sweet soul backing.

Elsewhere, there's messy drum'n'bass behind Get Off My... before the album gets back with the sparse rhythm of Girl Act Right and the elegant soul of Lo Rida, with a rolling piano close to the sound of Alicia Keys but on other songs, Eamon drifts close to the toothless pop/hip-hop of Milli Vanilli or Colour Me Badd, with dull rapping doing little for the bloodless music.

Whilst it was once commonplace for the debut releases of hip-hop/urban artists to be tinny, rattling albums - compare even the mighty Public Enemy's Yo! Bum Rush The Show to the later It Takes A Nation Of Millions... and Fear Of A Black Planet - this no longer needs to be the case and Eamon's debut album goes badly wrong in its appropriation of a sound from before bigbeat and The RZA, when the US praised two German dancers and Frank Farian over the likes of Run DMC and Eric B And Rakim. So there's moments when it comes together - Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back), Girl Act Right and Lo Rida are all quality songs - but too often, I Don't Want You Back is like all the wrong moments out of hip-hop trapped with the middle of an otherwise fine album.



out of 10
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