Mirrorwriting – Jamie Woon (2011)


Jamie Woon is a singer songwriter from New Malden in South London. He found critical acclaim with his track “Night Air” which featured the production of much praised fellow Londoner ‘Burial’.

Woon previously had an independent release in 2007 with “Wayfaring Stranger” but after finishing 4th (behind The Vaccines, James Blake and winner Jessie J)  in BBC Radio 1’s sound of 2011 he released his first full album “Mirrorwriting”.

The first track is “Night Air” which is an ambient sounding ethereal tune which really sets a mood. Woon’s soulful voice croons over this dark and edgy tune. It’s the song that made me notice Woon and subsequently saw me take interest in his future releases.

Nothing on “Mirrorwriting” ever captures the mood that “Night Air” provided. The second track “Street” does try to stay with that mysterious aura but never really hits home. This track is a reflective look at how something as simple as walking down the street with someone you want to be with is as important as any big thing you can do together.

“Lady Luck” is Woon’s venture into a more R&B sound which his voice certainly fits. The song is essentially an tale of how his luck is out and how he would like this to be remedied as soon as possible. It’s similar to those old blues songs which would bemoan what is happening in their lives and essentially use a song as a way of having a bit of a moan.

“Shoulda” sees Woon at his most vulnerable. It’s simple in what he is trying to say and he conveys this well.

“Walked when i shoulda run
and i ran when i shoulda walked
and don’t i know it”

“Middle” could be the Tory party anthem in talking about staying in centre ground and not veering anywhere else. But I am pretty sure that Jamie Woon wasn’t being political here. This song seems to be about compromise that he cannot get enough of his partners love yet at the same time he is frustrated at having to remain on such middle ground on every issue.

“Sprits” is the the nearest thing to capturing the essence of “Night Air”. This is arguably my favorite song on “Mirrorwriting”. Again it is a very inward thinking song which most of the tracks on this set seem to be.

“And I have seen worlds filled with wonder
Lost on my own lonely mile
Lessons I wish that I had mirrored
Time after time”

“Echoes” is the only real blip on the album as a hole. It’s just a song which has little melodic value and never goes anywhere. You keep expecting perhaps a big hook at one point in the track but then it just goes around again. I suspect the skip button will be called into the action for most listening to this album.

“Spiral” is a downbeat track which tells the tale of a relationship going through the motions. Everything is fine, everything is easy but then that could well be the problem.

“You hold out your hand and everything is so easy
And I think that’s the part that scares me 

Do you feel the same?”

But then there is hope in the final verse where it seems that discussion together about the current predicament is going to at least be attempted to be resolve as they attempt to find some spark.

“TMRW” is a song I enjoy. The backing choir Woon has created with his own voice in the background gives the song this great atmosphere. The song is about a relationship which is creaking at the seams and the message Woon is trying to covey is perhaps to take a breath, calm down and gain some perspective:

How do we get through tomorrow everyday
I don’t know but we get through it anyway

Secondbreath is a 47 second skit which just uses up some time serving little purpose.

The final track “Gravity” is a real winner. It’s a beautiful track which Woon sounds fantastic. It’s a song about knowing that your partner is likely to be cheating on you or someone you really like who is currently in a relationship themselves:

“Money is time, time is a currency
You and I both now who you’re spending yours on
You were the one
You cried for infinity
But you can’t have it all”

“Mirrorwriting” isn’t an album telling a story and it mainly unconnected songs brought together in a way that they would seem to fit. Woon had been on the circuit for a number of years and this is mainly a collection of the best he had available. Some of the songs on here you can find youtube videos of him doing live 5 years previously.

I like “Mirrorwriting” and the atmospheric contemplation it tries to achieve is commendable. It doesn’t always hit the goals it sets out to achieve but I still find it an extremely listenable piece of work.

Woon is set to release his second album soon and I will be eager to hear what he has in store.



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