Monday, October 31, 2011

Review catch up: James Blake - Enough Thunder ep

I have a confession to make - I don't really understand what dubstep is. I thought I knew what it was but James Blake (apart from the wobbling bass) sounds pretty far from what the stuff I'd always associated with the tag but everything I read about him refers to dubstep - everything. I'm far from an expert but Blake comes on like a less hysterical Antony with a throbbing subwoofer and while some songs hint at deeper rhythms (Not Long Now and We might feel Unsound on this ep in particular), it seems periphery to Blake's main game. And that main game is pure emotion.

The genre seems pretty irrelevant because much like Antony, I often can't make out what he's singing but my body responds to the music in a visceral and emotional way. I am moved by his music even if I don't necessarily understand it (or the genre it sits in). The first track here, Once we all agree, sits on a skeletal piano line, distant bass and a wave of distorted guitar worthy of Mogwai. For me, this is the highlight of the record but the other tracks are strong. The Bon Iver assisted Fall Creek Boys Choir leans a little to close to Bon Iver's recent album for my liking but it still sounds better than anything on that record. The cover of Joni Mitchell's A Case of You is a straight forward piano reading of the song and while far from the elegiac (and amazing) re-imaging of Feist's Limit to your love, Blake pulls it off convincingly.

This ep reassures me that there may be great things to come from James Blake and that my instinctual response to his album (that it is brilliant) was not wrong.


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