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On his long-awaited debut album, Blake moves his informed, excited mastery into yet another sphere; instead of manipulating tension through a library of beats, he now mostly draws on silence and vocal treatment. Take The Wilhelm Scream, where Blake’s jittery, double-tracked vocals are forever trying to catch up with the beat. The gaps make the song’s climax all the more of a spectacle.
Not all of this album’s silences, however, are build-ups to breakdowns. The tension of Unluck’s initial yearning and snappy beats become buried low down in the mix by the end, instead of crashing and burning. I Never Learnt to Share is similar, becoming more dissonant and riled as it unfolds before bursting and then coming up again, struggling for air. To Care (Like You) follows a similar non-format, starting with an untreated vocal before morphing into something equally bleak but entirely robotic, stone-cold. There’s no time for luring the listener in to a false sense of comfort, except on the gospel-influenced Measurements, the most familiar-sounding song here.
This 22-year-old Londoner certainly isn’t shy of ambition, and but that’s not to say this album is without its failings; Lindesfarne I and II, a universe away from the swagger and uppers of CMYK’s top line and sub-bass, are a step behind. The compressed silences and formlessly spacious sounds are overwhelming through headphones for baser reasons. Give Me My Month similarly adds little, working only as an interlude.
Aside from the hype, this album is by no means a feasible breakthrough into the mainstream – there’s not stride enough for that. But when it’s at its best, it’s boundary-breaking – and Blake is indeed a rare specimen, with many faces, each obscured. Each playback draws the listener in closer towards to the record’s core, like a dimmer switch being raised incrementally – a true beauty to behold.
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One great song. The rest is boring. There's a song about his family not talking to him and he says he doesn't blame them. If he plays that song to them then neither do I!Published 6 months ago by Avido
I heard the guy on the Mecury music awards and thought it was worth a punt to buy one of his CDs.... This cd is a bunch if self indulgent sound bites. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Andy
Very very different to anything else i have - bought it as i heard a track on Jo Whiley's great show (BBC R2).
Some of the tracks i think are great - some are just odd! Read more
Many of the songs on this album are incredible... Limit to your love's wobbling bass-line just adds to the beauty of the track and the two parts to Lindisfarne are two of my... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Sam
Incredible album ! A mixture of happiness and darkness. Such a smart way of inducing moods and reflect on the day. The soongs have more than one universe. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Selvaggia Corsini
Bought as I had heard Retrograde but nothing from before, bought the album as Overgrown was not yet released. Read morePublished 23 months ago by McAuley