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Friday December 3rd

Diversions

Music Review: Mount Kimbie

Mount Kimbie
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
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Electronic

The U.K.’s Mount Kimbie have made themselves known as adept dub musicians who are just as capable of crafting moody, emotional pieces as pushing out club bangers. Their new album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, does more of — and improves upon — the former, as Mount Kimbie takes more risks with their sound. Cold Spring does a lot to improve upon the duo’s debut record, 2010’s Crooks & Lovers, taking that album’s pastoral temperament and bending it to fit suburban notions of wanderlust, complacency, and heartbreak.

The most notable addition on Cold Spring is that of U.K. crooner King Krule, who contributes vocals to several tracks. But those sections seemed boring, as the presence of vocals seems to make Mount Kimbie complacent and more willing to phone in a standard beat. Krule’s vocals are nothing spectacular, and while the lyrics broach interesting themes, it would have done the record a favor to address its themes in a less direct manner through the music.

But the highs are high. On tracks like “Break Well” or “Slow” the addition of a stuttering click track or a melodic keyboard hits in just the right way. Closing the gap between the overdone King Krule tracks and the rest of the album is lead single “Made to Stray,” which serves as a painful reminder of what this album could have achieved. The momentum over the song builds, only to culminate in a nice and short poignant vocal. The vocal only lingers long enough to stay interesting, and keeps the focus on the exquisite electronic backing.

Mount Kimbie have succeeded in creating a series of extremely engaging electronic pieces, where the listener is pulled slowly into nuanced shades of emotion. But the missteps are huge, and when the album strays into territory more often occupied by James Blake (R&B influenced dub), it misses the mark.

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