The Troubles is the long awaited debut album from the politically charged avant-garde poet, Jun Tzu. A fusion of traditional Irish folk music and hard hitting Hip Hop beats inter-weaved with Jun’s meticulously penned lyrics combine to create a record that is a both striking and pioneering.
The album chronicles the life of the Hamilton family and the troubles that a lot of Irish families met on both sides of the divide and indeed both sides of the Irish Sea. Jun has a wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience to draw from; his own father is an ex UVF man turned Christian Preacher and Jun was raised on the infamous Rathcoole housing estate on the outskirts of Northern Belfast, an estate that saw its fair share of violence and unrest during The Troubles. But in true Irish style and spirit, there is enough humor and joy interspersed within to keep the soul alive.
Track one is a introduction of the man himself and a prologue to the rest of the story the album is set to tell. A hard-hitting and gritty Hip Hop debut that opens and closes with a shotgun blast either side of the war cry this “Born In Belfast” Irish warrior is calling out letting you know exactly what you’re in for!
‘I Hear The Marchin’ starts the story, the traditional Irish ensemble leading the way as Jun tells the biography of his grandfather’s early years. Track three opens with a furiously played Irish Fiddle, one of the epitomising sounds of the Troubles and the fable continues, charting the rise of a young man, Jun’s father, raised in amongst confusion and angst which ultimately leads to him to make a choice.
The album takes a light-hearted turn in ‘My Daddy’ and the wee story of the juvenile Rathcoole resident boys, Jun, his brother Adam and his cousin Danny in 1992. A dominating bass guitar riff backed beat leading the humorous memoir charting the tale of 3 young Irish lads playing, fighting and eating ice cream!
Staying on the same lines but with a more emotionally charged undercurrent, Bloody Brothers is a heart warming tale of two brothers and their own troubles and tribulations starting in Ireland and ending up in Manchester, inseparable and loyal to the end.
Wee Johnny displays Jun’s grievances with both the music industry and how old hate and a fanaticism can and still is causing disturbances today. The next track, “Roots” a good explanation of just where that old hate and fanaticism comes from with the Bodhrán keeping beat.
Track eight is an unashamedly personal and powerful account of a man who has done wrong and knows it. ‘I’m Sorry Mummy’ is a heartfelt chorus of a man desperate to atone. ‘Man Overboard’ progresses the story of pain and struggle and paints a picture of a soul who, at times, has come close to the edge.
The penultimate track on the album opens with the deep chime of classical piano keys soothing you into the main body of the track before Jun’s flawless delivery and the hauntingly beautiful choral melody sung by Jun’s sister completely enraptures you. ‘Irish Eyes’ is a influential insight into keeping your head up despite everything.
‘Here Lies A Soldier’ is the albums final track and a stand out record all of its own. The energetic and carouse swan song to a simply outstanding album, Jun delivers his final thoughts and appreciations in attenuated fashion. The Uillean pipes leading you out, enough to muster a tear to any eye with Irish blood.
The album is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Every track is brimming with heart and passion. A lot of time and effort has gone into the production of this record and it shows. Every lyric is clear and well delivered, every beat crisp and precise. The chapters covering every emotion, the highs and the lows and everything in between. The content, not only factuous provides an extremely interesting subject matter and a fresh alternative to the usual stale basis of present-day Hip Hop.
The Troubles should distinguish Jun Tzu as a name to watch out for in the future. It is a class act of an album, something that is both original and impacting, which in a modern age where repetition and rinse & repeat have become the norm is something to acknowledge.
Buy this album now! Links below!