JAMES BLAKE // 'ASSUME FORM' - ALBUM REVIEW

Is it too early to say this is the album of the year? Quite possibly, but I would argue that this fourth album from James Blake and the follow up to the slightly disappointing ‘Colour in Anything’ from 2016 is going to be a strong contender for this crown.

JAMES BLAKE - ASSUME FORM - RELEASED FRIDAY 18TH JANUARY 2019

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

This new album sees James Blake in a much more upbeat mood, and features some interesting guests artists along the way with Andre 3000 being the standout for me on ‘Where’s the catch’.

James Blake has dabbled in various electronic styles from Dubstep, ambience through to Deep House, and all these styles are fused into a mesmering 48 minutes with this new outing.

Opening track ‘Assume Form’ kicks off proceedings with a slow piano led electro beat and builds nicely into with orchestral backing and of course features vocal styling. Critically many people thought he had lost his way with the downbeat ‘Colour in Anything’ but the following 2 years have clearly been good to him and this is reflected into the upbeat tone of the entire album.

‘Mile high’ a deep bassy outing features Travis Scott who delivers a laid back trap rap which unlike an awful of trap actually works. ‘Tell them’ is another minimal outing with the distinctive vocals of Moses Sumney perfectly complimenting Blake’s vocals.

‘Into the Red’ opens with a string heavy arrangement and features some outstanding multi layered vocals which add to the genuine warmth of the track. Spanish vocalist ‘Rosalia’ features on the ‘Barefoot in the Park’ and again it’s the clever use of her vocals in conjunction with James Blakes along with a mellow back beat that makes this a genuinely great tune.

Standout track for me is the mighty ‘Can’t believe the way we flow’ which to be blunt is 4:25 seconds of pure perfection. Multi layered harmonies and a cheeky sample of ‘It Feels So Good to Be Loved’ and this ladies and gentlemen is James Blake at the absolute top of his game. This is a tune that you will come back to time and again.

Andre 3000 (Outkast) makes a guest appearance on ‘Where’s the catch’ with his distinctive rap style over a deep piano led riff that provides the perfect platform for him to do his thing.

‘I’ll come too’ sounds like a man who is very much in a good place with and his combination of deep break beats and orchestra really is the perfect match and a good pair of headphones are really needed to fully enjoy and appreciate this track.

‘Don’t miss it’ is reminiscent of the James Blake from 2 albums ago, wonky beat, piano, vocals and that’s all you need and closing track ‘Lullaby for my Insomniac’ again features sparse vocals, and piano in an ambient style all of which works to great affect.

I began by saying that this album could be a contender for album of the year even at this early stage, and I stand by this prediction. This is an artist who is at the very top of his game and I’m already looking forward to the ‘difficult’ 5th album!

He’s on tour in spring of this year, and if you get chance, go along and see him. You won’t be disappointed.

JAMES BLAKE // ASSUME FORM

TRACKLIST

  1. Assume Form

  2. Mile High feat Metro Boomin’ and Travis Scott

  3. Tell Them feat Metro Boomin’ and Moses Sumney

  4. Into the Red

  5. Barefoot in the Park feat Rosalia

  6. Can’t believe the way we flow

  7. Are you in love?

  8. Where’s the catch feat Andre 3000

  9. I’ll come too

  10. Power on

  11. Don’t miss it

  12. Lullaby for my insomniac

JAMES BLAKE | UPCOMING TOUR DATES:

REVIEW BY: JOHN MCEVOY

The Modern Record