“James Blake” – James Blake
Dubstep is typically thought of as a subgenre of dance music, but then on the tail-end of its fashionability James Blake turns that on its head. While it exhibits the trademarks of dubstep – plinks and vworps and vocoderized vocals – James Blake is the opposite of every kitschy remix on which the genre typically trades. It’s more melancholic than hedonistic, illustrating Blake as a self-pitying, tortured pariah by way of his soaring, soulful voice and sparse beats.
The highlight of the album is the two-parter “Lindesfarne” which has Blake’s crooning layered with effects, each lyrical line separated by pregnant pauses that evoke an enveloping loneliness. This is the primary strength of the album; The anesthetizing feeling of isolation, and even though the uptempo tracks like “To Care (Like You)” are superb, it’s the dispirited and dejected ones that make this such a beautiful record