Stemming from the minds of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, Mount Kimbie have been a looming figure in the U.K. electronic scene for years, building from the sounds of post-dubstep. But on their newest and third album Love What Survives, the pair have taken a somewhat sharp turn from their previous album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, which was released 4 years ago in 2013. By utilizing more drum machines and incorporating a greater sense of instrumentation, the duo have almost seemed to have evolved from producers and into a fit live band. As well as enlisting a powerhouse of vocal features from long-time collaborators James Blake, and King Krule, the record blooms to life. Leaving behind the sporadic bass and snippets of samples, Love What Survives is an incredibly solid, precise, and efficient piece of work that truly highlights their growth, not as an electronic pair, but as a live band.
Overall, the record is melancholic and dreary, periodically releasing short bursts of optimism throughout. Created and produced while Campos and Maker lived in different countries, Maker in LA and Campos in London, the first track, “Four Years and One Day” possibly refers to two different things. Either its been four years and one day since they have put out new material or, more likely it could be alluding to a naturalization rule for immigration in the US, as if it’s relevant to Maker’s residency in LA. Moving on from the opening track is the first and possibly strongest of their released singles, “Blue Train Lines,” which entails the energy and boasting roar of Archy Marshall from King Krule. But unfortunately, the track contains a single explicit early on causing it be docked onto ‘do not play’. Progressing farther into the album appears another one of the singles, “Marilyn,” featuring the English songwriter Micachu. Using an arpeggiated thumb-piano and a swinging ride cymbal, its hard to shake the notion that the song isn’t reminiscent of one’s childhood as it vividly resonates nostalgia. It feels like the song is longing for something from the past, which is why in my eyes “Marilyn” is easily the most beautiful song off the album. Other standout tracks include “We Go Home Together” and “Delta.” “Delta” is an instrumental track that honestly feels like it was thrown together with a rough sense of urgency but in a good way. Whereas “We Go Home Together” blurs genres and sounds like a modest gospel song featuring James Blake, however the track truly signifies Mount Kimbie’s growth into new territory and departing from their once heavily produced sound.
To me, it’s heartwarming to see Mount Kimbie come out of a four year hiatus with their new album, maintaining their sound while growing at the same time. Love What Survives is a quick-listen clocking in at 39 minutes, but Campos and Maker make every second count, creating what I would say to be one of the stronger, more efficient and unique albums released in 2017 so far.
Recommended If You Like: James Blake, Four Tet, Caribou, King Krule, Darkside, Jamie xx
Recommended Tracks: 3 (Audition), 4 (Marilyn), 8 (We Go Home Together) 9 (Delta)
Do Not Play: 2 (Blue Train Lines)
Written by Grant Martin on 11/01/2017