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Overgrown - James Blake

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Audio CD / Release Date: 8 April 2013 / Number of Discs: 1 / Label: Polydor

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      20.08.2013 21:33
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      one to watch out for

      I first saw James Blake at Glastonbury and I bought his self titled album James Blake. His style is incomparable, it's intense and with high pitched vocals and thunderous backing drums. I cannot think of a band or artist to compare him to; although if you like the music of Elbow, Depeche Mode or Joni Mitchell than you may find something in James Blake that you like. In fact, Blake states that Joni Mitchell was one of his inspirations. Her soulfulness is echoed in some of his songs and indeed he even went on to cover "A Case of you," one of Mitchell's best tracks from her album Blue.


      ==Great expectations==

      His first album was breathtaking and I fell in love with his handsome man that has a voice like nectar. When I heard him at Glastonbury, he was just awesome and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand; he is enchanting. A fickle music lover James Blake was put on the back burn of my mind for a couple of years until I heard Retrograde, track 5 off the new album and it stopped me in my tracks. I thought, I know that voice and indeed the DJ informed me that this was a release from Blake's upcoming album. I downloaded the track and then about a week ago I downloaded the full album as an MP3. Despite already owning one song, it was still cheaper to download the full album.

      This is a love or hate album as the spectrum of tracks are similar, his voice and style are unique and recognisable at the first note. The first track I wanted to play was I Am Sold and this did not disappoint, it is very experimental and progressive but it has a quality that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up. This uses a lot of synthesiser and in places it seems quite distorted but this is purposeful. The whole album as a delicious rawness and it takes you on a musical journey. By far the best song on the album is Retrograde. "You're on your own in a world you've grown, Few more years to go, Don't let the hurdle fall, So be the girl you loved." What I like best about the song is his soulfulness.
      His voice is angelic and so powerful. There is a steady beat behind this song and with the gentle murmurings behind his voice; it sounds religious and intense. The intensity is a quality I like in my music as it is good to get lost in someone else's emotions from time to time. Blake uses his voice like an instrument and in Life Round Here he uses his voice in such a different way; reaching really high notes and then fading it back in that it gives an extra dimension to his sound. Blake uses a vocoder to play with his voice, shifting the pitch at such a pace. His voice sounds so fragile in places but this is down to his own technique and style rather than a machine.

      ==The weak link==

      I love all the songs on this album but there is one song I have to skip and that is Take a fall for me" You could describe is as experimental, raw and edgy but I just do not like the rap. It sounds like he is trying too hard and too eager to be different. His voice and style works on its own you don't need to throw a rap mishmash about hardship in there. I always give this song a miss, even after trying to love it I just cannot. There is a couple on here that sound very Joni Mitchell with DLM being one. As he hits certain notes you could even swear it was her! DLM is deep, soulful and full of little sound effects that gives the song power to stop you in your tracks.

      Without pulling each track a part in detail, I will sum by saying that the rest of the album follows this theme and does not disappoint. The last track is worthy of a mention as it is so beautiful and is probably the next best to renograde. This has lovely piano instrumentation with Blake's voice wrapped around it like a silk bow. The track is very beautiful and very soulful.

      The album has a rawness that is hard to find these days. Blake is a strong male vocalist with his strengths lying in his beautiful angelic voice. He uses his voice, stretches it and pulls it to give the listener more and more. His progressive style is unmatched and although there are hints of other artists, his style is very much his own.


      ==Backdrop for summer==

      This is a superb album and offers the perfect backdrop of the summer. I can imagine having a beer and listening to this album sat out on the terrace. I love music that is different and this album is one that you want to play over and over; you will not get bored. Each song carries its own story and although some of the lyrics are a little over the top; his poetic style is enchanting and his lyrics beautiful. I find that there is a little too much repetition in some of the songs, but on the whole both lyrics and voice go well with each other. Each track is a masterpiece in its own right, with the exception of Take a Fall for me and accolade should be given. Blake is one of those people that you have to see liver and once you see him perform you want a little bit more.

      This album is available for £10.99 for CD release with artwork and for £7 you can have the MP3 version.

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    • Product Details

      Tracklist: 1. Overgrown / 2. I Am Sold / 3. Life Round Here / 4. Take A Fall For Me [feat. RZA] / 5. Retrograde / 6. DLM / 7. Digital Lion / 8. Voyeur / 9. To The Last / 10. Our Love Comes Back