Mount Kimbie - Cold Spring Fault Less Youth - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mount Kimbie - Cold Spring Fault Less Youth

by Daryl Worthington Rating:7 Release Date:2013-05-27

South London duo Mount Kimbie's second album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, expands on the home recorded electronic blueprint of their debut, Crooks and Lovers. Perhaps because the band met at a South London university, or because they've collaborated with and been remixed by James Blake, they are often described as post-dubstep. Genre names are always misleading, inadequate and often pointless, and the broadening of Mount Kimbie's palette makes this one seem particularly redundant.

'Home Recording' successfully updates the aesthetic set down by bedroom-based, four-track producers from the 80s and 90s for the laptop generation. Twangy guitars are played over Beach Boys-style organ chords and echo-drenched percussion. The track is undeniably modern and reflective of its contemporaries, but there's something a little fragile and wonky in its execution which means it sits somewhere between The xx and The Normal.

The presence of live instrumentation, replacing the cut and paste sampling approach of their debut album, is one of the most explicit shifts in Dominic Maker and Kai Campos' music. Their two collaborations with King Krule stand out for their bizarre fusing of grime with richly exotic instrumentations. 'You Took Your Time' sits somewhere between lounge jazz and funeral dirge, with shuffling drum-machine beats leading into mournful synth drones. 'Meter, Pale, Tone' has a South American feel, with a rich bed of live percussion propelling the track. Both have the feeling of a live band playing the backing tracks as opposed to a DJ collaging samples, allowing shifts in dynamics and tempo to fit the changing themes of the lyrics.

The diversity of the album can get a little beguiling. 'You Took Your Time' is followed by 'Break Well', which begins with kosmiche arpeggios before launching into tremolo-drenched, guitar-led surf-rock. 'Made to Stray', on the other hand, is built on lo-fi samples and techno-like beats which end up somewhere between Super Furry Animals and Omar Souleyman. There's a feeling almost of a band unable to be satisfied with one style, trying an idea then discarding it for something different on the next track. It could seem contrived, but there's a certain unity, a summery, lo-fi vibe which stays constant through the diverse styles and makes the whole thing seem connected and unified.

It's lazy to describe one artist through comparison with another. However, I'm going to do it anyway: With the ever lengthening hiatus of Super Furry Animals, Mount Kimbie seem to be growing into a group which can fill their space in the musical landscape. The Super Furries' debut album was released in the prime of Britpop, and was grouped by many journalists and critics alongside artists such as Blur and Supergrass. As their career progressed, the band took influence both from the past and their more leftfield contemporaries, and forged a diverse back-catalogue which established their own identity far from their Britpop origins.

Similarly, the warm summery feel of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, combined with its diversity, is the sound of a band moving beyond genre boundaries to create their own unique template, informed not only by their immediate contemporaries but by far beyond them. The execution might be a little cluttered with ideas sometimes, but the album feels like it could prove an interesting step into the establishment of a unique personality.

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