The English have always known how to rock the house. British punk and alt-rock has led the way for innovative techniques and genres to form over the course of the last 30 years or so, but across the channel, European music developed a slightly different style.
Club, dance, house, and electro have long dominated the continental music scene, and it took awhile for it catch on in Merry Ol’ England. Mount Kimbie can be seen as a spillover of these traditions. Formed in 2008, the electronic duo set out to imitate the sounds of other electronic artists, and failed in faking it. But with its sophomore album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, Mount Kimbie comes out with its own sound that sets it apart from British and European artists alike.
“Home Recording,” “So Many Times, So Many Ways,” and “Made To Stray” are perfect poster-boy songs for Mount Kimbie. They all incorporate the same predictable pattern of beats, rhythms, and electronic melodies that varies rarely throughout the album.
They begin simply, with minimalist beats and syncopated ticks, building more instrumental layers as time goes on. Rarely are vocals and lyrics utilized at all, which gives the tracks, with their seemingly meaningful titles, an empty feeling at times.
With the removal of lyrics, the portrayal of emotion can become difficult, and Mount Kimbie fails to get its message across. Just a little more explanation of what the duo is attempting to express would allow its work to have a greater impact on listeners. Mount Kimbie should try to avoid the image of faux-intelligentsia by adding something to increase the depth of its music.
It’s alright to experiment and try to innovate, but art has a purpose: to purge emotion and free the observer. If Mount Kimbie cannot relate to an audience, then the members’ position and title as “artists” ought to be challenged.
However, the album is not without strong moments. King Krule is featured on “You Took Your Time” and “Meter, Pale, Tone” as a guest rapper, and his slow and steady style blends perfectly with the album’s geometric ensemble. His dry wit and calm lyrics stand out next to the ceaseless clicks and beeps that capture the essence of other tracks, extenuating that unique sound that you know is there, but isn’t always realized. It’s that deeper something necessary to reach the potential that the listener can sense is somewhere underneath the vast emptiness of the album.
It would appear that Mount Kimbie fell into the dreaded “sophomore slump” with Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. However, the duo has made notable progress in developing its own place in British and electronic music. It’s a disappointingly small step, but there is hope for the sullen pair.
While Cold Spring easily becomes a monotonous jumble, certain musical moments excellently showcase Mount Kimbie’s ability to craft a composition that can really be enjoyed by an audience. Keep a look out for the duo in the future, because there is absolutely something there, a hidden potential just waiting to come out of its musical cocoon and soar.
Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth tracklist:
- “Home Recording”
- “You Took Your Time (feat. King Krule)”
- “Break Well”
- “Blood and Form”
- “Made To Stray”
- “So Many Times, So Many Ways”
- “Lie Near”
- “Meter, Pale, Tone (feat. King Krule)”
- “Sullen Ground”
- “Fall Out”