Published Dec 09, 2014Having been introduced to many via his collaborations with peeps like Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Freddie Gibbs, JMSN's first self-titled full-length represents an anticipated release. Vocal comparisons to Justin Timberlake would likely make Detroit-born, LA-based producer, singer-songwriter and instrumentalist JMSN (real name Christian Berishaj) cringe, but they are laid bare, in living colour, from the jump with opening track "My Way." That track's piano chords, electric guitar and moody atmosphere set the stage for JMSN. His introspective lyrics act as a soul manifesto of sorts — "I did things my way" — and set the tone for an album that comes in under the wire as one of 2014's most interesting from a groove-oriented perspective.
The Timberlake-esque twang continues with the overwrought, overlong "Bout It" — one of the soggier joints on the project — as JMSN pushes forth a '90s R&B electronic organ-, guitar- and snare-driven aesthetic. The evidence presents itself with vibing numbers like the Soul II Soul-oriented "Waves," the PM Dawn-ish "All Apologies" and the jazzy "Score." While the overall production is polished and aurally on point, JMSN is a touch overlong at 14 songs and beholden to a throwback '90s R&B/soul sound that will either blow your mind or feel repetitive, depending on your age and/or sensibilities.
That said, the inherent craft and charisma involved present a musical case that's hard to hate on — the intriguing JMSN holds together as something that should garner attention. (White Room Records)