James Blake starts 2019 with a Number 1 in the UK Charts for his fourth album Assume Form. That’s a pretty astounding bit of recognition and one any artist should be rightly proud of. That number 1 might be in the UK Cassette tape charts but none the less, you take the victories where you get them. And besides, until we were digging around we didn’t even know there was a chart for cassette tape releases.
See, every day is a school day.
Blake has worked with everyone from Beyonce to Bon Iver and this album sees another selection of guest appearances and collaborations. Including one with Andre 3000. There’s that. Assume Form sees Blake taking a slightly lighter look at life, this record is more upbeat, a little less serious and a bit more electronic than his previous offerings.
Many thought that Blake was finished, the guess is that this critique had an impact, he has clearly buried himself in a studio for a while, The production and the depth on this record speaks for itself, the four and five star reviews its gotten across a range of publications adds another layer.
Assume Form is romantic, bittersweet in places, uplifting in other parts, it is by far his most accomplished work and while it perhaps isn’t exactly in our realm it certainly helped kill 40 minutes on a train.
Highlights for us were Don’t Miss It, an ethereal, otherworldy slice of R&B with a haunting backing vocal possibly delivered by a banshee, Into The Red is a different thing altogether, perhaps a little more ballad-like but it’s been dissected, split apart, with each part playing in its own little world, where they meet in the middle like reluctant teenagers.
Lullaby For My Insomniac is another weirdly disjointed affair, the kind of thing that will haunt you in the small hours, rather lovely it is too. Power On, is perhaps our favourite, it plays heavily on Blake‘s vocal and has the line ‘Lets go home and talk shit about everybody‘. Haven’t we all done that?