‘we can hope for heartbreak now’

James Blake – Enough Thunder EP
(Universal Republic, 2011)

Not being a huge fan of dubstep myself, James Blake appeals to my senses with his soulfulness.  I appreciate the compositions he creates, some of them are incredibly soothing and enjoyable — some of them I only tolerate, but it’s the vocals that really set this artist apart in my book.  One of the most powerful performances I have witnessed all year was this young British kid sitting at a piano in Portland, OREnough Thunder continues down a path that seems to have no direction, a path with so many twists and turns that before long it has crisscrossed over its own footsteps so many times there is no way to know which way it is headed.  Fractured beats act as a cracked foundation for tracks that don’t seem quite finished, a schizophrenic collaboration with Bon Iver questions the validity of genre definition is this day and age, and then there is the cover of A Case Of You — this album packs a lot, maybe too much, into a very small package, but that Joni Mitchell cover, the yearning Not Long Now and the heart-wrenching title track guide you home safely and you’re left wondering if the labyrinth was just a dream.

James BlakeEnough Thunder