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27/03/2012 Sean Paul - Tomahawk Technique Review 27/05/2009 New single, So Fine
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|Sean Paul - Tomahawk Technique Review|
|27-03-2012 19:31 | 0 comment(s)|
| The fifth studio album from Sean Paul, Tomahawk Technique is generally a decent release and another positive credential for the Jamaican artist. It's a record that may appeal more to a niche market than the mainstream, as the vocals don't always convince and on certain songs Sean's ambition far overrides his ability. However, fans of throbbing club anthems are well served and its able combinations of reggae flair and dancehall anarchy provide a mostly slick and enjoyable listen.
The first track ought to be familiar, given it was released in July of last year. "Got 2 Love U," which features Alexis Jordan on guest vocals, is one of the album's better songs. Its colourful mixture of musical and vocal styles gives it a wide-ranging appeal and distances it from the rigid structuring that mars some other songs. The dancehall beats are overt and insistent, as manufactured a club song as I've ever heard, but the smoother female singing adds a pop sensibility and mutes its more grating elements. "She Doesn't Mind" is less upfront with its intentions and temporarily filters the synth in favour of pounding verses and rhythmic vocals. Its looser chorus is a bit rambling and not quite as endearing; the song overall tends to err disappointingly on the side of dullness and does little to improve on the opener's quality. "Body" has a stark, cautionary backing track and seems a bit ominous at first. The bridge seems specifically designed for Jersey Shore style fist-pumping, before it digresses into a touch of r'n'b in the chorus. The chorus of odd samples and noises make for an inept attempt at splicing genres, but if you're into this sort of thing it is probably hypnotic.
The siren in "What I Want" provides an alarming undercurrent for his passionate declarations of intent, but the grinding synth and tedious rhythm make this difficult to get involved with. "Won't Stop (Turn Me Out)" is an attempt at a primordial love song of sorts, dressed up in stupefied noise. This is a prime example of exalted ambition going awry – in its attempts to diversify with numerous hooks, sounds, and samples it feels like an exercise in throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the fray. None of this is really music so much as mindless programming, and it doesn't help that the vocals are detached and tuneless.
Happily though, the latter represents something of a nadir for the album. "Dream Girl" is less painful and Sean infuses his vocals with a certain level of enthusiasm. "Hold On" is good-natured and big-hearted, with soft acoustic inflections and vague symphonic moments that somehow complement the vocal lines. Further, he manages to deftly tread between measured singing and more arresting rapping. "Put It On You" is also faintly agreeable, with a dreamy swirl of synth that gradually intensifies and provides a pleasing template for the rest of the song. It becomes a bit dull and formulaic after a time, but there's more life and charm in the singing. "Roll Wid Di Don" is a triumph. It's far more coherent than some of the other songs, as Sean marshals his vocals into a quick-fire rallying cry that's effortlessly catchy. It is aided by an ever-so-slight undercurrent of strings, harnessing club and commercial appeal with a hint of actual design and execution.
"Touch the Sky (feat. DJ Ammo)" succeeds in the same vein as its predecessor, while "Wedding Crashers" takes a sparky, brighter approach. The sound is kept minimal and there's more emphasis on the singing, with plenty of guest contributors both for group marathons and solo pieces. It feels more natural and likeable as a result, even if it's not exactly seminal work. "Waya Waya" is a disappointingly filler ending, though its appeal is enhanced greatly by the French lyrics.
Tomahawk Technique won't blow your mind, but it has enough to ensure it'll be burning up radiowaves and club floors over the coming months. It is a bit unimaginative for my liking, but the better songs are delicious and as an overall listen it's not bad at all. If you're in search of surly beats and rhythm, you won't be disappointed.
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