Four Tet - There Is Love In You

Like any good tour guide, Four Tet shows you both the impeccable and the imperfect sides of his musical landscape.

Even though Kieran Hebden hasn’t released a full-length album as Four Tet in nearly five years; the man certainly has been busy, releasing four records with American jazz luminary Steve Reid, a devastating 12-inch with kindred spirit Burial, and 2008’s stellar ‘Ringer’ EP. All of those distinct releases impact and influence his dazzling new album, ‘There Is Love In You’, which proves to be the most accessible Four Tet record yet, while also continuing along the inventive, groundbreaking creative path that Hebden has been exploring for years. There is a discerning quality to these songs that are often slow to reveal themselves, but still pulse with a life and an energy all the same.

Simmering opener ‘Angel Echoes’ is a perfect example of this, with chopped, abbreviated vocals looped repeatedly over entrancing keyboards. It manages to perfectly set the theme for the album; for even though it never really arrives anywhere concrete, it still shows you the way to go. First single ‘Love Cry’ takes its time finding a groove, but when it does, the results are entirely hypnotic and galvanizing. These tracks aren’t your typical over-the-top dance floor fillers, even though they wouldn’t sound out of place in the mix of any club. There is something cerebral and sensual about these songs which is unique in the world of electronic music, for there is a warmth and intimacy to these songs where you often find cool detachment.

‘Plastic People’ is the track where Burial’s influence is most pronounced, but where his songs often cause the listener to think of the city at night, Four Tet’s songs have a radiance to them that clearly evokes more optimistic thoughts. This sanguine aesthetic is most evident on the perfectly titled ‘This Unfolds’, which slowly blossoms into a gorgeous, ebullient number that could brighten even the darkest hour. That’s not to say that there aren’t dark moments on the album, for ‘Love Cry’ has a deeply mournful quality to it, as does the melancholy closer ‘She Just Likes To Fight’. But generally, the album is a beacon amidst the gloom, with the penetrative tendencies of the songs indeed seeking out the love within all of us.

Hebden has clearly studied his craft over the years, honing his sonic proficiencies while pouring over each and every manipulated beat and sound. And while it occasionally takes him a while to lead the listener into the heart of his designs on ‘There Is Love In You’, you trust him enough to allow him to take you anywhere. And that is really where the beauty of the record lies - for like any good tour guide, Four Tet shows you both the impeccable and the imperfect sides of his musical landscape, crafting an album that is quite startling in its candor, while still maintaining an air of mystery and discovery. Ultimately, the record is both seductive and enthralling, and represents a strong return to the game from a pioneering artist who never really goes anywhere but forward.

Tags: Four Tet, Reviews, Album Reviews

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