The Talented Mr. Blake

James Blake – Enough Thunder EP – Album Review

9.5/10

Enough Thunder is the latest EP from James Blake, the boyish producer turned full fledged crooner from across the pond.  It was released in October of 2011 to favorable reviews.

From the moment I heard of James Blake until now, not much more than a year has passed.  I was late to the game, but not very.  My take on his first efforts wasn’t a flattering one.  I dismissed his tunes as busy, childish, and obnoxiously electro-chic.  By the fifth time I heard his hit single, CMYK, Blake had jimmied the lock on the back door to my brain, moved some wires around and seized control of the ship.  He’s been climbing to the top of my pile of favorites ever since.

Blake isn’t only convincing, he’s ever-changing, much like the night sky or the staff of any given Taco Bell.  In the beginning he was a producer, the likes of Diplo or Danger Mouse.  His music mellow dubstep with a come hither stare on its face.  Then came his full length self-titled LP with which he introduced his vocal chords to the world.  His music was only the better for it.

On Enough Thunder, Blake takes it to a whole new plane of musical being.  He eases up on the mixing board and let’s some piano wire have it.  It plays like a ransom note demanding the listener’s soul in exchange for its contents.  The listener should be more than glad to give it up.  Every track is fantastic.  “We Might Feel Unsound”, the EP’s second track mixes fast, albeit understated percussion with slow, haunting vocals.  One would think that would be confusing to the ear.  However, it’s not so much confusing as it is blissful.  I have no idea how he does it, but Blake is a master artist and it shows.

The following track entitled “Fall Creek Boys Choir” was released via the internet.  It was a collaboration between Blake and indie-rock god/king of endearingly unintelligible lyrics, Justin Vernon(Bon Iver).  The result was as exciting and beautiful as the news of the collaboration itself.  4 and a half minutes of sheer beauty.  He follows with an out of left field cover of a beloved Joni Mitchell B-side “A Case of You”.  A nod to his Canadian fans?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  Either way it sounds great.

Blake rounds off the EP with “Not Long Now”, the most reminiscent of his earlier EPs like CMYK or The Bells Sketch, and the heartfelt title track, in which Blake exclaims “we can hope for heartbreak now.”  I’d rather hope for new James Blake to make its way to my ears as soon as possible.

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