Monday, 15 July 2013

Album Review: Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth


    Following up from a number of well received EPs and an album, Mount Kimbie shown themselves to be one of the more interesting acts to emerge from the end of the dubstep of the era. With their second album, and first for Warp records, their recognisable smooth organ and clipped percussion sounds are still here, incorporating more organic sounds and live vocals but removing the chopped up vocals that where a mainstay of their previous releases.
    Opener Home Recording sounds most in line with theirs first album, Crooks & Lovers, even with the additions of some jazzy instrumentation creeping in. Even the more dance floor geared material, like first single Made to Stray ends with a vocal refrain over a driven 4/4 beat, though still the track might be the most upfront material they've released. Sullen Ground contains a haunted melody that could of come from an old Sega game, featuring a steady beat and that familiar hiss alongside sharp claps and a repeated vocal that adds to the tracks sense of unease. King Krule collaborates on two tracks here and whilst his voice took a little time to click, after a few listens it has gained charm in the way he coveys both youth and weariness in equal measure, despite his age, which is especially effective on You Took Your Time, accompanied by a swaying, almost hip-hop beat before natural percussion of hi hats and cymbals takes over for the tracks second half.
    Synthesizer workout Break Well makes for an interesting departure, starting with an arpeggio that builds and transforms before opening up to allow a simple drum line and bass guitar to enter and give some weight to the ambience, whereas Blood & Form comes across as weary under its own heavy lumbering melody. Likewise, So Many Times, So Many Ways seems like a bit of a misfire, it attempt at changing up the rhythm with a 6/4 beat never really goes anywhere, its indie, jazz and electronic inspirations never quite gel together.
Through the album similarities can be heard with previous collaborator James Blake, in the marrying of acoustic an electronic elements, though where Blake always has his voice as the human core, Mount Kimbie play around with how they bring the natural and synthesized together.
    The record lacks some of the playful nature of their earlier EPs and album, here the tracks build on their ideas rather than going somewhere different mid track. They sound more improvised and spontaneous, like the result of late night jam sessions, and much of the material makes for a welcome departure but still the meticulous and creative production that has always been at the centre of the duo's work shines through.

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