Review Summary: This new duo paint on a much different canvas of sound then the typical dub formulas.
Mount Kimbie is a two man dubstep act who have several EP's in the prior year, but are now releasing their first full length. First thing I will say about this album, is that its not a typical dubstep listen that nearly everyone may have grown accustom to. It’s safe to say that most people’s range in the genre is limited to the so called ‘pioneer’ and ever popular Burial with his emergence in the early to mid ‘00’s. However, several years later, the following of this genre has increased tenfold, stepping up from being an underground sensation to a semi mainstream movement. This new duo paint on a much different canvas of sound then the typical dub formulas. This album brings a whole new point of view and innovation within the increasingly growing genre. On this release particularly, they even venture away from the sound they played just a year before and go outside the box from conventional dubstep characteristics and are not afraid to do so. However, this does not mean its absurdly complex or pretentious. Though this album will not cater to a dubstep purists, you won't need to have an experienced ear to hear where they are going, or enjoy it.
Some songs have a slightly annoying sound to them, such as ‘Blind Night Errand’ with it’s not so subtle glitch style, but most end really well with a nice funky vibe and should keep the listener well interested. What they do many times throughout the album is implement complete change of directions from song to song, some going straight ambient dub, others using House, Grime, I-Hip-Hop and IDM influence, as well as dance pop characteristics. ‘Before I Move Off’ is a real clear example with many of these genres listed, as it has a real chill and laid back hip-hop styling similar to Flying Lotus on Los Angeles. While the song ‘Mayor’ features a more pop oriented yet funky style with elusive and jumpy vocals making it the most diverse on the album. As the two man team noted in an interview, several influences were used in their sound collaboration ranging from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV On The Radio. Songs like 'Ruby' however are using influence taken right out of Burials hand book, creating a great and chill urban atmosphere many came to love from the album ‘Untrue’. The album can become a bit hectic at times. I can see where they are going trying to be more abstract and fresh in the genre, but a more clear cut direction would be nice. Perhaps to others, this sporadic approach may be what they're looking for. Songs such as 'Adriatic' and 'Between Time' felt very unneeded, as though they didn’t add anything to the overall effect of the sound, but removing these could have possibly put the duo in a jam on length, which in turn could have made this become just another EP.
Pinning the sound can be rough with such a wide range of genres used, and this may deter an avid/purist dub listener, one who ‘grew up’ with the dubstep pioneers , but again a change of pace to the very common theme of artists such as Burial, Scuba, and Kode9 in my mind is more than welcome. It’s fairly easy to see what the duo was going for, a fresh and innovative sound could be another jump start to the dub movement where Burial peeked, and they have a lot of ideas flowing around, but it needs just a bit more focus. It does have its flaws, but overall Crooks & Lovers is an Electronic release not to be missed this year around.