James Blake | James Blake

PID (2011)
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  February 1, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

020411_Blake 

James Blake is a tough nut to crack. After a string of three 2010 EPs that primarily used chopped R&B samples and slo-mo piano dub to turn some serious heads, he opted to stretch his vocal cords and lead this release with a delicate cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love." While riding that track's initial outpouring of acclaim, he appeared on BBC Radio and promised that the rest of his debut LP would be much more in the vein of his earlier bass-leaning, ballad-free output. Well, it isn't, but I'm not going to hold that against him - who needs Kelis samples when you have a voice as æthereal as Blake's? Full of airy vocals and synths, the album sounds as if it could lift off at any moment if not for the drum thumps tethering it down. But the beats sound weighty only in contrast. At times, Blake traces back to his previous electronic output. The verses of "Limit" rattle; "I Mind" follows that all-too-familiar boom-click-boom cadence, but it's hollower, like listening to dubstep while sporting earmuffs. And stunningly perfect for those of us trapped within these winter doldrums.

  Topics: CD Reviews , R&B, Feist, BBC,  More more >
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