James Blake – Overgrown

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James Blake - Overgrown
James Blake
Album: Overgrown
Released: April 8th, 2013
Label: Polydor, Atlas Records

As a recent nominee for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, London based singer-songwriter and electronic music producer, James Blake is certainly rising as a dynamic and enthralling force in the music scene. With his sophomore album, Overgrown, Blake uses unconventional piano parts as the roots of his songs and embellishes them with celestial synthesizers. He enhances his classical roots with his eclectic beats and plunging bass lines that compliment his mellow tone. Blake’s soulful humming vocals add to his sound as an accessory rather than a statement piece, allowing other elements in his music to have their moment to shine. Overgrown is the mind of an introvert with cold and mysterious facade; as time goes on, the intricate layers are brought to light. Although his album seems to have a melancholic veneer, he sings of romance, togetherness, and understanding. This album makes for easy listening, that will bring tranquility and leave you at peace.

Moreover, all of the tracks have specific elements that make them their own being, but are cohesive in how they all carry the same mature, passionate tone that allows them to flow smoothly. Blake sets the mood of Overgrown with his title track and single that carries a consistent, gentle bass line that mimics rain droplets. His dub influences are most prominent in “Life Round Here”, his single “Retrograde” and “Digital Lion”. Hip-hop legend RZA also contributes his insightful rapping to “Take A Fall For Me”. Furthermore,”DLM”, an abbreviation for Don’t Let Me, is a piano ballad that highlights his classical background and is the only track on Overgrown that does not have electronic elements. “Voyeur” is a prime example of his specialty in building layers and looping to crescendo into a climax. Overall, there is a simple exterior to this album with an underlying complexity that should not be overlooked. He further perfects his distinct sound that is turning the tables in the electronic music world. James Blake clearly demolishes the sophomore album slump stigma in Overgrown and does not disappoint.

Reviewed by Janelle Abad


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