This is my first album review and i have picked an especially complex subject in that of Missing Piece by Dean Atta. I have discussed each track on the album in the order that it is played.
Ascension starts with a melodic guitar and vocal sample taken from one of Dean's biggest inspirations Lauryn Hill, this accompanies the strong yet fluid spoken verse. The track speaks of rising to the occasion, reaching possibilities grasped for and falling, while retaining a portion of that height reached. As a starter track I have to say I was impressed by its flow and depth.
Mothers Tongue speaks of a sense of alienation and regret when visiting the homeland of a parent when the language has not been passed on. Dean portrays a view that if language/education had been forthcoming then the colour of ones skin and those differences would become overlooked.
Young black and Gay is a very strong track needing no musical accompaniment, Dean informs the listener of his background, relating to his ethnicity and sexual orientation using the line 'my people are many and few'. He also speaks of the ability to transcend stereotype using education to become a 'community defender'. I like this track, its rawness and use of language is appealing and edgy.
Morning Sex (the Fourth track) is a smooth yet sexually explicit flow accompanied by piano and light percussion, certainly not for the prudish and quite the opposite of the previous three. Dean uses sex in this track as an escape from the darkness of modern days i.e. knife and gun crime 'the world will seem new after a morning screw' is a line that stayed in my mind.
Tunnel Vision is a short offering, about lost love to be honest this wasn't one of my favourites, but was competent none the less.
I'm Cool, was another departure from the previous tracks. The sombre lyrics are sung over a semi-dance backing track. This song for me brought a measure of truth to how gay men tend to deal with their issues, with the use of drugs, alcohol and dance music to pretend that 'I’m Cool'. It was poignant in its message and one I could relate to from past experience.
Therapy is a winding blend of Dean’s signature flowing vocals accompanied by classical piano. We are drawn into a story of expectations and snatches of his life and history. I found the overall feel of this track as one of melancholy and confusion. It was an interesting ride. After an ending of the initial track and a short period of silence an upbeat guitar and lyrics break in with a much brighter, cheerier feel, I guess this is what being in therapy feels like!
Goodbye the pen-ultimate track deals with the destruction of a long term relationship and its effect. Shedding the feelings of the past and embracing what could possibly be in the future. Goodbye didn't have the same intensity as the previous although still held my attention.
Key to the City was a fitting finale to this lyrical ride that Missing Piece had taken me on. It told the story of 'John' a homeless teenager and his journey through the care system, his love and his fall into crime and the gutter of London. Key to the city delivers a punch at its end, something I will not deprive any readers of, if they are intending to listen. It also features a Stevie Wonder (another inspiration of Deans) sample within its verses.
There is a strong theme of education throughout this album. On a whole I would encourage others to listen to Missing Piece. Dean takes you on a journey with his lyrics and although it may not all be your 'cup of tea' I would imagine that many will feel that there is something in this album that they can relate to. I really enjoyed 7 out of 9 of the tracks of this collection and for a debut album I would have to say Dean has produced something of quality and depth that's well worth a listen.
To download Dean Attas Missing Piece debut album please visit http://www.deanatta.co.uk/
To watch the video for Morning Sex please visit Morning Sex The Video Youtube WARNING THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SEXUALLY EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
To follow Dean on Facebook visit Dean Atta Facebook Fan Page