Just Jack returns with his stunning new album All Night Cinema
, the follow-up to his smash-hit LP Overtones
. All Night Cinema
sees Just Jack at his blistering best. Produced and almost entirely written by Jack (along with co-production by past collaborator, Jay Reynolds), it is a genre-busting album, packed with infectious, catchy, hook-laden tunes. The new LP features straight-out, hard-hitting pop songs, wrapped around Jack’s razor-sharp lyrics and acute observations. Lyrically, he finds himself talking about everything from the sublime to the ordinary, eloquently depicting life in England in Jack’s very own inimitable way.
Success has done weird things to Just Jack. While his literate English pop peers--Lily Allen, The Streets--have responded to fame by becoming larger-than-life caricatures, channeling tabloid controversy back into the music, Jack Allsop’s third album is shy, understated--anonymous, sometimes. But if All Night Cinema
is more everyman tales than indulgent self-analysis, it’s a look Just Jack wears pretty well. Lead-off single “Embers” proves that some pretty moving productions are within his grasp, an emotive production of dancing violins, hand-claps, and harmonies that overlay in beautiful patterns, while “The Day I Died” demonstrates that the knack for casual storytelling that Allsop demonstrated on The Outer Marker
is still present and correct, a relaxed lope of acoustic guitar and thunking drum break that hides a bittersweet twist in the tale. Other moments might prove a mite relaxed for fans who like their pop with more edge, but the album’s only real misstep is “Goth In The Disco”, an unconvincing electro-pop pastiche that overreaches somewhat as it tries to rhyme “dance” with “ambulance”. ––Louis Pattison