released Dec 1st
from the album - Supernova
Merging an unusual combination of genres, Mr. Hudson (aka Ben Hudson on vocals and guitar) applied his love for Chet Baker and Cole Porter to his skills in hip-hop production. To play his songs live, he formed the Library, comprised of Maps Huxley (bass), Wilkie Wilkinson (drums), Joy Joseph (steel drums, vocals), and Torville Jones (piano). The first result, an EP entitled Bread & Roses, came out via Deal Real in October 2006. The group toured with Amy Winehouse in early 2007 in support of its debut album, A Tale of Two Cities, released through Deal Real/Mercury. A slate of festival appearances followed during the summer, but Hudson's biggest act of promotion came courtesy of rapper Kanye West, who signed him to his G.O.O.D. Music label and featured Hudson's production and vocals on 2008's number one album, 808s & Heartbreak. Mr. Hudson's second album, Straight No Chaser, is ably assisted by a single ("Supernova") featuring West.
album review from nme
One of the more befuddling cultural micro-phenomena of recent times has been the US hip-hop community’s sudden fascination with not-very-interesting British white-boy music. You can probably rationalise Jay-Z, Kanye West and Coldplay’s love-in as simply three globally massive artists comparing their respective vastnesses, but quite how perennial mattress-protector-requirers Keane persuaded on-the-rise Somali-Canadian rapper that it would be a good idea to work with them is a mystery indeed.
Equally mysterious is how Mr Hudson, formerly eclecto-indie dullards Mr Hudson & The Library, has (we’ll say ‘has’ rather than ‘have’, given that members of The Library are now credited as guest performers) enraptured the aforementioned Messrs West and Z, unless they have been waiting all their life for a man who sounds like the mutant offspring of Sting and a bassoon being constantly fed through Auto-Tune.
Oh, did someone mention Auto-Tune? Because it’s not Hudson’s foghorn bellowings that are the real enemy on this record, it’s that motherfucking computer program – with Jay-Z having announced its death earlier this year, this album could be the primary defence witness at the murder trial.
When a production technique has been pioneered by Cher and Dane Bowers, that really ought to be enough reason to leave it alone, but practically every line on here is fed through a filter that makes it sound like somebody is attempting to forcibly tracheotomise Hudson while he sings. Single ‘Supernova’ is practically a parody, and the same technique renders the title track absolutely unlistenable. It’s a shame, because in making Hudson sound like a cyborg with a wonky tuning dial in his throat, it detracts from the moments on the album that might otherwise have been affecting. In fact, given that ‘Straight No Chaser’ is such an awful cliché of a title, can we suggest ‘DBA (Death By Auto-Tune)’ instead?
Oh, did someone allude to Jay-Z again? His collaboration, ‘Forever Young’, is already the worst moment on ‘The Blueprint 3’. Only the sparse electro of ‘Everything Is Broken’, on which Kid Cudi’s limited rhyme skills actually work to the song’s advantage, is worth sticking around for. The rest of it... well, it actually makes one hanker for Keane trying their hand at hip-hop. Yeah, OK, that’s going too far…
1. "Supernova" (featuring Kanye West) Dave McCracken (additional production: Kanye West) 3:13
2. "White Lies" Dave McCracken 3:11
3. "Knew We Were Trouble" Mr Hudson 3:15
4. "Straight No Chaser" The Bullitts (additional production: Mr Hudson) 3:23
5. "Learning to Live" Mr Hudson & Andrew Savours 4:18
6. "Instant Messenger" Mr Hudson 3:44
7. "There Will Be Tears" Mr Hudson 3:47
8. "Stiff Upper Lip" Mr Hudson & Steve Robson 2:52
9. "Central Park" (additional vocals: Joy Joesph) Mr Hudson 2:53
10. "Anyone But Him" (featuring Kanye West) Mr Hudson 3:10
11. "Everything Is Broken" (featuring Kid Cudi) The Bullitts (additional production: Mr Hudson) 2:44
12. "Lift Your Head" (additional vocals: Joy Joesph) Mr Hudson 3:08
13. "Time" (additional vocals: Joy Joesph)