james-blake-2I have to admit that by end of 2011 I’d fallen out of love with James Blake. Thanks to Benji B, I was an early fan but all the pre-album excitement and post-release enthusiasm fell victim to a classic case of hype and saturation. There was still no denying his talent but I felt bored with his sound and through no fault of his own – the idea of him. It happens. But given some time to forget, lead single “Retrograde” brought me immediately back on board. That song is clearly the highlight of Blake’s second studio album Overgrown which, other than a laughable appearance from the RZA,  is full of beautiful, subtle ideas and solid execution. Gone are the dubstep warbles and most of the studio tricks, there is no high profile cover song this time around but instead a new found confidence to the music that seems to have shed the need for these affectations. I’m a fan of this stripped down direction. It seems more honest and interesting, certainly more direct. He’s also cleared away any doubts about his longevity as an artist. Overgrown does not sound like someone chasing trends but rather an artist developing their voice as singer, songwriter and producer. It’s a strong piece of work that I look forward to getting to know better.

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