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album review: mount kimbie, cold spring fault less youth

mount kimbie

With their debut release, Crooks & Lovers, UK duo Mount Kimbie led the burgeoning ranks of groups and producers looking to wrest back the more nuanced elements of dubstep from the likes of Skrillex, taking the genre in much more interesting and introspective directions. Crooks & Lovers featured the hazy electronic production and the glitchy, syncopated beats and bleeps that have become hallmarks of the “post-dubstep” sound of artists like James Blake and Jamie xx. Mount Kimbie’s latest release, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth combines these features with new attempts to flesh out production in order to produce a lusher and fuller sound.

Whereas their debut album almost completely avoided the use of anything resembling a bassline (presumably to get away from the wub-wub brostep stereotype), on Cold Spring the pair seem more comfortable employing a complete register, filling the tracks out and providing a sense of warmth with the use of plenty of live instrumentation, in a similar vein to the feel of Bonobo’s Black Sands LP. The album’s sixth track, the instrumental So Many Times, So Many Ways, is a particular stand-out in this regard. The rolling, repeating bass line provides the track’s sense of perpetual motion as it lurches forward under sparse hi hats and delicate electric guitar. A greater emphasis on vocals on this album also sets it apart from its predecessor. Whilst members Dominic Maker and Kai Campos take on some of these duties, it’s the addition of King Krule’s grimy, gravelly voice on You Took Your Time and Meter, Pale Tone, that is a particular highlight.

King Krule, aka 19 year-old Archy Marshall, has been putting out a steady stream of fantastic material for a few years now, (check out his 2010 track Out Getting Ribs, released under his previous moniker Zoo Kid) and his strange, surprising voice provides a dirty feel to the restrained and measured instrumentation of the tracks. Although he’s not exactly rapping, King Krule’s feel for timing and rhythm and his unique, near-spoken word delivery drips with attitude, and the addition of an accordion midway through You Took Your Time evokes distant similarities with the textured production of brilliant MF Doom/Madlib collaboration Madvillainy.

Whilst not exactly a pop record, with Cold Spring Mount Kimbie have certainly taken a step away from the pastoral, electronic soundscapes of their debut and delivered an album with considerable warmth and feeling.

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