REVIEW: Mount Kimbie – Crooks and Lovers

387 crooks and lovers

Before I begin, let me make something clear, apart from the obnoxious, broken lawn mower warblings, vibrating from chav mobiles and on ”WICKED SOUNDZZZ VOLUME 3 (innit)” adverts, I know very little of Dubstep. I only mention this because according to many sources, Mount Kimbie, fall firmly into this category. However, upon listening to ‘Crooks and Lovers’, it becomes clear that Mount Kimbie transcend anything ‘The Ministry of Sounds’ Dubstep compilations might have to offer.

A quick look through the duo’s Myspace friends, and remixes, will reveal they’re rather chummy with minimalist, gloom R&B enthusiasts The XX. Quite understandable when you take into account Kimbie’s own tendency to strip back their sound, using layering and atmosphere instead of volume to evoke a reaction. ‘Before I Move Off’ is testament to this aesthetic, with its muted relaxed guitars and choppy 90’s chipmunk vocals, reminiscent of The XX’s output, (only if they got out some more, and learned to enjoy themselves).

The closest thing to a ‘choon’ found on CAD is arguably ”Mayor”, with its Metronomy meets Justice warble, and tumbling melding of helium vocals and synths. As contradictory as it is to its counterparts, the song still manages to use sound as a way of creating atmosphere, flitting between toybox twinklings, to bassy warblings seamlessly.

However the boy’s signature minimalism doesn’t always pay off, with ‘Blind Night Errand’ seemingly unaware of its direction, falling in-between the emotive hushed tones on other tracks, and the ‘choon’ status of ‘Mayor’. What you end up with is a repetitive 3:21, that sounds like Mr Oizo if he worked for a ringtone company, ie something you might hear being rasped out of tinny mobile phone speaker at the back of any bus into town.

‘Ode To Bear’ is Mount Kimbie channelling pre ‘Nights Out’ Metronomy, aping Joe Mounts mournful use of mouth organ and hidden fuzzy synths to a tee. That is until just over half way through, when MK truly show the spectrum of sounds they can produce, transforming the song into a hushed These New Puritans, in little under 2 minutes.

Closer ‘Between Time’ sees the twosome strip back their sound, more than anywhere else on the album, with its poignant back-to-basics guitar, bass, snare, culminating in a clattering, mournful final farewell, and once again, showing yet another side to Kimbie’s unrestricted sound. Reflecting on how far Metronomy and The XX have come, both musically and career wise, Kimbie have definitely got the potential to garner the same meteoric critical success, and this album is a testament to that.

Joe Thresh