James Blake

A word of warning to any casual James Blake fans out there who might be buying his self-titled debut album on the strength of 'Limit To Your Love': don't. Well, not until you've at least delved into the predominant side of Blake's output; all distorted beats and unsettling tones a world away from the smooth, soul musings of the aforementioned track. If you choose not to listen to us, then we will have been vindicated by the time the first obtrusive electro beat hits on album opener 'Unluck' and you'll be reaching for your CD player in order to investigate whether or not a scratch has appeared on your sparkly new CD. This is not a negative for the album by the way; undoubtedly the album impresses simply because it's nothing like 'Limit To Your Love', a couple of short, pointless piano ballads ('Give Me My Month' and 'Why Don't You Call Me') aside. In all honesty, Blake's vocal isn't the most captivating and is a touch monotonous, so having it hidden behind production is a massive win in our eyes. It results in post dubstep/electro gems such as 'The Wilhelm Scream' where the vocals take on a wonderful rythym, soothing us when things get a bit weird, and 'I Mind' which utilises echoing, repetitive noise to brilliant effect. The main niggle is that the whole thing is a bit on the short side, especially when Blake has a rich catalogue of EP efforts that he could have retuned but, on the whole, it's an impressive calling card from someone clearly determined not to let coming number two in the BBC Sound Of 2011 poll, stop him from becoming number one in the charts.



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