Monday, 1 July 2019

Kate Tempest "The Book Of Traps And Lessons" (2019)


I was dead excited for this release, Everybody Down and Let Them Eat Chaos made quite the impact. Kate's heavy and burdensome poetry paired with impoverished Hip Hop instrumentals made quite a unique potion of the classic formula. This time around there is a clear shift in tone, the limelight lands firmly on Kate as the pace and foundation of drum beats are far between one another. The subtlety of dark ambience pianos, strings and atmospheric keys softly shade the space around her words.

It plays like a poetry piece mustering winds of momentum as the instruments occasionally pick up the musky tone and carry it along. Kate is otherwise quite the smothering ache of your attention. The bleak and quiet despair of mundane existence grasps her words as details of failed relationships, social pressure and societal observations manifest into spiraling thought worms. Occasional flickers of wisdom, conclusion or relief linger but the majority of this record is quite a weight on the listener.

The tenderness and vulnerability captured in her voice seals the authenticity of this expression. Wordplay, narrative and innuendo interweave as trains of consciousness collide with thawed out thoughts, articulated to an exhibit. Its undoubtedly deep and comes in waves of topics, feeling like a linear narrative that seems to fly all over the place. There is much to chew through here however its not quite for me.

The problem I have with this record is how doom and gloom the tone is. Both introspection and outwards reflection finds no light between the clouds. It becomes a downtrodden journey sucking away mood when the already quite instrumentals strip to a silence. Kate's words are inescapable in these moments and her words ring the alarms a degree to paranoid for my taste. These big topics tackled are done so with a bias for the depressing and despite a beauty in her language its path is one that brings you with it. The uplift and conclusion it ends with too feels in too much contrast to all that came before. Its an unsatisfying and forceful look into the shadows.

Favorite Track: Firesmoke
Rating: 5/10

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