So far Kate Tempest hasn’t really made a wrong move. Her collaborations with Dan Carey feel like Bowie and Visconti or KRS-One and Scott La Rock, but for the post-clubbing, minimum wage generation.
‘The Book Of Traps And Lessons’ sees Tempest being more personal and raw than in the past, when she used characters to express her feelings and themes – here she addresses listeners directly, opening up about break ups in a way that feels confessional.
Musically it’s more subdued and sombre than previous projects. Gone are the bombastic sounds of ‘Marshall Law’, ‘Europe is Lost’ and ‘Guts’, instead we find delicate pianos, restrained melodies and ethereal synths doing the heavy lifting.
While it isn’t as immediate as ‘Everybody Down’ or as viscerally brutal as ‘Brand New Ancients’, there is a new maturity here. Tempest is baring her soul, and scars, for the world to see – she doesn’t need to rage to get her point across.
There is a powerful understatement to this album that yields more secrets with every listen.
Words: Nick Roseblade
Dig it? Dig deeper: Michael O’Neill, Hollie McNish, Princess Nokia
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