Wednesday 12 October 2011

James Blake - Enough Thunder EP

Blake's debut album was a disappointment.

There, I've said it.  The Wilhelm Scream and Limit To Your Love are standout, beautiful tracks but the rest of the album failed to live up to the hype.  It's with hope then, that 'Enough Thunder' arrives on the scene.

It's not long, though, before disappointment begins to set in.  Again.  This EP is essentially six rejected tracks from the album, a clear continuation of his previous material that doesn't meet expectations.  At the core of the EP is A Case of You, originally by Joni Mitchell.  The improvisatory feel of the vocal suits Blake's own style, but it lacks the warmth of the original.  Then there's Fall Creek Boys Choir, the recent collaboration with Bon Iver - the result of which is a Bon Iver track being mangled by Blake's production machine.  Framing these are four tracks filled with too much silence, grating autotune and emptiness.  His experimental approach makes for an interesting yet difficult listen.

What frustrates most is that Blake has such potential.  The reason Wilhelm Scream and Limit To Your Love work is that his unique style is set within a clear structure, allowing the listener to melt into his sonic world.  Instead, this latest material is too abstract and fragmented, leaving the listener drowning in melancholic oblivion.