Largely responsible for putting the ‘post-dubstep’ term on the radar, London producers Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, aka Mount Kimbie, paved the way for the likes of James Blake with their 2010 debut album Crooks & Lovers. But after admitting that they find most of the music they have since inspired rather dull, the pair have made a conscious decision to distance themselves from the sub-genre with their follow-up, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth.
Released through the Warp label, this album’s eleven tracks still possess a similar “drifting in and out of consciousness” quality compared to their previous one, particularly on the woozy instrumental “Lie Near” and the disjointed and nightmarish “Sullen Ground.” But that’s where the similarities end; overall, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is a much warmer and more live-sounding affair than its predecessor. Opener “Home Recording” starts out like the theme tune to a 1970s educational TV show before its retro sax/organs set-up is joined by a wave of glitchy percussion that washes over you like a summer breeze. Elsewhere, the experimental echo-laden jazz of “So Many Times, So Many Ways” resembles The xx had they signed to Blue Note.
The snippets of vocals which defined Mount Kimbie’s debut have also been abandoned here in favour of more traditional melodies. It’s an approach which works well enough when Campos himself takes the mic, as on the military-tinged “Made To Stray,” the closest the record gets to a club crossover, and the disorientating tribal electro of “Blood & Form.”
Less so when BRIT School graduate King Krule steps up, his brash and abrasive vocal style on the hazy hip-hop of “You Took Your Time” and the rumbling ambient electronica of “Meter, Pale, Tone” mirroring the kind of drunken-slurring you’d expect come closing time at a karaoke bar.
But overall, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth cleverly manages to retain the rich textures Mount Kimbie have become renowned for while still succeeding in its mission to present the duo as a completely different entity.