Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps & Lessons - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps & Lessons

by Florian Meissner Rating:10 Release Date:2019-06-14
Kate Tempest – The Book of Traps and Lessons
Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps & Lessons

“They’re taking everything from us and tell us nothing is ours, but here we are, dancing”, a powerful voice proclaims over a quieting beat. A very distinct voice, sometimes calm, other times nervous, heartbroken, hurt, enraged – and now, after two long years, that voice is back. “Love is a self-made thing.” A powerful song, with a happy beat reminiscent of those machines with the handle on the side, or those old pianos in the Wild West movies. It’s an old beat. “Love is… a self-made trap.”

What a powerful third album: Kate Tempest teamed up with producer Rick Rubin to deliver new music, two years after her last release “Let Them Eat Chaos”. “The Book of Traps and Lessons” it’s called, and the 11 tracks feel like the most intimate songs the South London artist extraordinaire has ever released.

Like never before, Tempest creates an album full of political and social subjects, of personal and interpersonal relationships, of love, hate, and everything in between. Driven by her own experiences, but also driven by Brexit, by the rise of the right-wingers all over Europe, and by a future that seems so bleak especially for young people. But it’s not all bad or bleak. On the contrary. “Firesmoke”, the first single of the new album, for example, is a love song about Kate Tempest’s partner and “everything that falling in love with her has taught me,” Kate Tempest explains. The song is quiet, thoughtful, and perfectly situated almost at the end of the album, creating a perfect break between the very urgent and driving “Lessons” with its beat that could be straight from the “Stranger Things” soundtrack, and the hard-hitting “Holy Elixir”.

What amazes me about this album is the fact that, even though it is incredibly personal, it is lyrically so well written that everyone will understand it differently, depending on their situation. Some of the ulterior motives are obvious, but many of them are described in such a way that everyone can relate, can feel what Tempest wants us to feel, yet always in relation to the situation that person is currently going through.

It’s been two years since Kate Tempest last gave us an album. Sure, there are artists that made us wait way longer. Tool for example, or Rammstein. But unlike Rammstein, whose new album was disappointing to most fans, Kate Tempest has created a piece of art that is so perfect for her and her fans, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed.

Listen to the first single “Firesmoke” below to get a glimpse of what the album can sound like.

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