Bobby Kray

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2007, 12:00am

Bobby Kray

Tales of a Skinny White Boy


The curse of the 'next big thing' seems to have wrapped itself around Britain's Bobby Kray and it has started to squeeze him tight.

Given a big marketing push as one of the music world's more unusual talents, critics have replied by labelling Kray reggae-lite, soulless soul and worse. On a cynical surface level, at least, things seem a little too good to be true - record shop wannabe is discovered by mega-producer as he croons along while working and is then guided down the path to fame and fortune.

But the test with any music labelled 'manufactured' is how it sounds after more than the initial listen. And that's where the cracks begin to appear in Kray's Tales.

At first, the Kray falsetto sits snugly over the beats laid down thanks to dub genius Dennis Bovell, who has tweaked the offerings of luminaries such as Lee Scratch Perry in the past.

The alarms start to sound when the first cover version comes at just track two - the reggae standard Bam Bam given a lukewarm work-out that leaves you wondering why they even bothered.

It says something, though, that it remains one of the album's high points - along with a version of Janet Kay's 1979 hit Silly Games, which at least shows some sort of life.

Sadly, left to his own devices, no amount of Bovell brilliance can cover up Kray's shortcomings.

I Love You is the kind of track only fit for clearing dance floors. But that's not where things finish. You're left wondering where it will all end when Wait Up dares to mention the 'tears of a clown'.

Nice voice, for sure, shame about the material.