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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 July 2013
If you loved James Blake's previous releases then you will enjoy this continuation of his haunting melodies and fractured songs creating an atmosphere of longing and passion. I'd heartily recommend this album.
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on 15 April 2013
Where to begin describing Overgrown? I'm going to struggle, as I've not heard anything like James Blake before. As with his self-titled debut, it's simply unlike anything else. (Unless I've simply not listened to enough music.) Not sure who to compare him to or which genre to put him in. It's experimental, soulful, jarring, distorted, melodic and serves the unexpected - although, that said, this is exactly what I expected album number two to sound like.
Blake has a great vision for his musical landscapes. There's a sense it's all in his head and it's not something you can simply reproduce on sheet music - maybe a storyboard, instead? Maybe.
Opening and title track, Overgrown, is subtly beautiful and one of the least experimental tracks on the album, luring you in with an underplayed soulful voice, gradually building synths and percussion.
I Am Sold sees the experimental production values switched up a notch, but the musicality is just as rich, in particular the way Blake uses and plays with his remarkable voice.
By track three - Life Round Here - the synths do a little more of the quirky stuff and the landscape continues to build.
I'm not going to cover this track by track, but needless to say - in my view - there isn't a duff one here. I'm on my fifth listen and still finding surprises, still trying to hold onto the tunes and not quite managing it - a good thing, I know I'm not going to bore of this easily.
Parting track - Our Love Comes Back - brings the album full circle to something similar to the beginning - soulful voice, subtly building synths and underplayed sound effects.
If you particularly welcome the more experimental works of Radiohead, Elbow and Kate Bush, then this should appeal - I say should, because I really don't know. That's just the nearest I can get to a comparison; that's the nearest I can get to understanding just why I'm so drawn to this artist.
Final word on it all: astonishing.
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on 9 June 2013
Having been a fan of James Blake since a few years ago, I've listened to all of his albums and EPs. His first and self titled album was incredible; quite the soundtrack to 2011; mysterious, satisfying, relaxed. Second album in my opinion was less accessible, a little disappointing (or perhaps challenging), focusing less on the mysterious, harmonic melodies that I was used to.
Overgrown sees James Blake return to his former glory; perhaps even more accessible and enjoyable than his first album. Every track is unique and the album fits together perfectly. It's slightly more commercial than his previous work, choruses are more recognisable, there's a genius collaboration with rap veteran RZA and plenty of twitching beats to keep the listener occupied.
Quite simply, his best work yet; wonderful.
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on 8 April 2013
I only heard of James Blake recently on the radio when I fell in love with Retrograde, but still I was in two minds whether to buy the album. As soon as I got to track two, 'I am sold', well, says it all... I've been listening to the album non-stop since and I am definitely not disappointed. Amazing.
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James Blake's debut recording threw me into a different league. His songs and presentation vocally may divide audiences but 'Overgrown' takes him another leap forward in his development. Sure, the high-pitched vocals and the backing drum-rim sounding accompaniments with thunderous synthesised build-ups are there, but Blake is his own man. His repertoire is his. His progress may well have been influenced by others but it is not obvious,this recording being so individualistic. There is no mistaking his voice nor production and any comparisons with other artists are fruitless.

James Blake has the ability to deliver a song in a manner that is incapable of pigeon-holing. His cracking, potentially fractured vocals never break. His repertoire of 'DEM', 'Like Around Here', 'Retrogade', are astounding. Joni Mitchell may have given advice and I'm sure was appreciated - be your own man- and may have some influence with 'Overgrown' and 'Our Love Comes Past', yet his songs define him as a unique performer and purveyor of creativity. James Blake gets full marks. This man is very special. His persona reminds me of the impact, 45 plus years ago, when Leonard Cohen hit me with a completely different style. His emotional delivery and lyrics sounded direct. Listening to this output so far puts Blake in a league of leadership with style. He surely needs no encouragement other than self-belief in his musical direction as listeners await for his next adventure. I don't feel he will disappoint.
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on 30 May 2013
Unlike his eponymous album James Blake, the young producer creates a perfect, creative album.

It seems as if he has found a way of incorporating bass driven influences to his soulful voice in a way that allows for each song to flow to the next.

Although I actually have less favourites from this album to his first, this album works as a whole much better.

Overgrown, I am Sold, Retrograde, Digital Lion, To The Last..

Just incredible.
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on 2 June 2015
Nick Drake playing electronic music in the 21 century... that is what it seems to me. So personal, so quiet, so loud sometimes... very unique... love evry track, every sound, everything... it has to be listened from start to finish at home in silence...
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on 30 June 2014
Every track on this album is very strong. Deserved winner of this year's Mercury prize. The only reason I never gave it 5-stars was that it plays for only 40 minutes. Would have been great with a couple of more tracks - providing they were up to the standard of the rest of the album. Just adding a couple of to pad it out would detract from the album's overall quality. Very atmospheric.
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on 25 July 2013
There is no time, when I'm not in the mood for this album.
In love with the tracks 'Life Round Here' and 'Retrograde'
His best album yet.
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on 2 January 2014
This 2013 Mercury music prize-winning album from one of the country's most gifted singer-songwriter-producers is truly pioneering. He fuses bass-driven electronica with a very unique and under-stated style of R&B that creates a beautiful, original soundscape; haunting and mystifying as his sultry, warm voice pours out hyperbolic poetry. He uses repetition and samples to good effect with a complex blend of lead and bass synthesizers, percussion and a touch of acoustic piano. There is a nice balance of emotion and intelligence and the purity of his voice captivates, seen before on his covers of Limit to Your Love and Joni Mitchell's A Case of You. With this album, he has created his own musical genre and is a real auteur. There is very little conformity at all. It's certainly for the deeper mind and a bit like marmite, but it's a masterpiece for those with musicality. In particular the track Retrograde, which is absolutely sublime.
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