“Hi…” So begins returning icon DJ Shadow's long-awaited fifth studio album before sinking into waves of euphoric synths and crisp beats that help remove any worries that this may be another rock-indebted effort.
Displaying a contemporary take on the sweet ambience that made his name 20 years ago, Shadow has crafted his most experimental album while still delivering the kind of melodies we love. There’s vintage guitar, otherworldly vocals and a true sense of dreaming apparent on over half of these tracks. However, we still get the funky and foul-mouthed ‘Nobody Speak’ featuring Run The Jewels, an absolute masterclass in sampling and which should find a spot on everybody’s ‘Summer Jams’ list. No one is safe from El-P & Killer Mike’s lacerating tongues while Shadow’s bouncing beat softens the blow.
An Asian flavour is brought to the table via ‘Pitter Patter’, while the previously released ‘Ghost Town’ makes a welcome addition by adding nocturnal menace to proceedings with its eerie chimes and piano.
Though ‘TMWF’ still lacks the coherence of his debut (with some sagging in the middle) it still stands tonally a much stronger package than his last two releases and is filled with far more highs than lows.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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