Alex Clare - The Lateness Of The Hour
Add fans of dubstep, drum and bass and soul into a Venn diagram and you'll end up with a very small centre, which is exactly the main problem facing Alex Clare on his debut album. Instead of blending his influences, The Lateness Of The Hour features straightforward, earnest soul tracks, pounding drum and bass efforts and huge slices of dubstep destined for the clubs but there's never an overlap. It makes for an interesting contrast, especially as Clare pretty much groups the album into the relevant genres, but it's hard to imagine many people who will fall in love with the combined whole. The frenetic 'Up All Night' starts everything off in fine fashion and generally when Clare aims for the dancefloor, he absolutely nails it; 'Too Close' is a reverb-heavy, thumping beast with a delicate balance between soft guitars and dirty beats that proves to be the album highlight. However, the funky soul of 'Hands Are Clever' marks a distinct switch for tracks that showcase Clare's undeniably strong vocals but barely raise the excitement levels to any level close to the first half; some drum and bass beats briefly flirt with the latter tracks - 'Love You' in particular - they're just no longer the focus and it's to the album's detriment. It's always nice to discover an artist not afraid to explore music, but we can just hope that Alex Clare finds a bit more focus along the way for his follow-up.