Review of Crooks and Lovers Album by Mount Kimbie

Dubstep or not to-dubstep? That's not even a question.

Mount Kimbie Crooks and Lovers Album

In a post-dubstep world, possibly starring Denzil Washington, London duo Mount Kimbie, namely Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, have steadfastly risen to kings in waiting. Meeting at Southbank University, the pair moved into a home studio in Peckham and in between pints in the Nag's Head with Trigger, their sound was born.

Based around the usually sub-focussed dubstep sound, theirs turns the sub right down in order to enhance gentler percussion and melodies. Atmospheric soundscapes are sampled and tied to looped stabs to create a sound that effortlessly grows yet is completely entrancing.

Choosing to remix two of the biggest artists of the year is akin to staking your weekend beer fund on a 10-game accumulator then telling all your mates. Fuck it up and there's no chance of recovery but pull it off and you're in for the biggest Saturday night of your caning career so far. (...We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline.) Mount Kimbie have won the pools. Their remix of The XX's 'Basic Space' on its own would make you dribble, but their version of Foals' 'Spanish Sahara' is enough to convert even the staunchest of guitar heroes to the possibilities of electronic music.

These, on the back of last year's two exceptional EP's ('Sketch on Glass' has recently undergone a makeover of its own), provide the context for 'Crooks & Lovers.' An album that will undoubtedly feature alongside Total Life Forever and XX on albums of the year lists from here, to all the way over there.

'Before I Move Off's' delicate looped synth combines with raindrop drip bleeps before a stab falsetto vocal and clap combo ensure smiles all round. The evoked imagery is university hall lawns drenched in summertime, cheap lager and rolled cigarettes. You can't do anything else but enjoy it. 'Carbonated' too, is warm and engaging. Light percussion with reverb provides an almost greenhouse effect, as the female vocal loop and two-step beat juxtapose to produce a slowed down garage feel.

The contrast with 'Blind Night Errand' is starker than Johnny Vegas at a Harvester salad cart. Smiles are replaced by forearms and elbows as the brooding buzzing takes full affect. It's a much purer dubstep sound before the familiar falsetto stab returns for the fade out. 'Ode To Bear' is the opposite. Keats-esque in name; melodic and peaceful in sound, the melody gently paws at a door swinging back on its hinges, inviting you into a 2010, post-post-Romantic world.

Penultimate track 'Mayor' is the party piece. Set up by the schizophrenic 'Field,' tap dancing clogs provide an intro for the most driving bassline on the record. Another vocal stab sits atop more raindrop drip bleeps as the bass is turned up and down on queue.

The post-club album is always a tricky one for the host; enough to keep everyone going but not too much that they'll want to tap out and go to bed. 1991 had 'Screamadelica,' 2010 has 'Crooks and Lovers.' It's that good. Just be gracious when the compliments start flying your way.


Alastair Thompson

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