Amateur Best - The Gleaners

by Nse Ette Rating:9 Release Date:2015-10-02

Birmingham producer Joe Flory is Amateur Best and his new album, The Gleaners, comprises harrowing, fluttery electro-soul grooves. Vocally, he recalls Seal or Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, while sonically the album has a late-night club feel. 

Opening is the gloomy ballad 'Rely', which finds him crooning "Cool cats love attack/ Stab yourself right in the back/ I was never catching/ I was always falling with you" against haunting synths. It contrasts sharply with bouncy songs like 'Marzipan', which sounds as sweet as its name suggests ("You shouldn't worry about your figure/ you should worry about your soul," he sings to dizzying synths and club beats), or 'They Know', which rides on clipped beats, alternating between somber verses and euphoric bursts. 

He lets the electronics shine on the upbeat cascading instrumental "Part Timer", and the gloomy tempo-shifting "Night Shifter" (with beats and his melancholic vocals ebbing in halfway through the song), while the tender ballad "Hey Darlin'" has lovely Beach Boys-style harmonies and a bridge that sounds other-worldly. 

Closing is "No Sleep", the album highlight, a soulful synth ballad with warbled effects and a shiny undulating tempo. 

A serene, yet interesting experience from start to finish. Fans of everyone from James Blake to Jamie XX to Hot Chip will love this. 

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