FOUR TET: There Is Love In You (Domino Recording Co.)


Posted on Jan 21st 2010 01:13 am

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Four Tet: There Is Love In You

There Is Love In You
Domino Recording Co. 2010
09 Tracks. 47mins11secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD Amazon US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP

After the jazz-tinted Dialogue, released on Output while Kieran Hebden’s main role was still as part of Fridge, and the two stellar follow ups, Pause (2001) and Rounds (2003), which both  gathered considerable praises, his wonderfully shimmering sound appeared to lose a bit of its lustre with Everything Ecstatic (2005). Over the next few years, Hebden switched focus to a project with legendary percussionist Steve Reid, the time of a few slightly over-indulgent records and extensive tours.

Things started to look up slightly last year though as Four Tet returned, first with the Krautrock-infused Ringer EP, then with a split release with Burial, which seemed to denote a renewed interest from press and public alike. It suddenly seemed like Kieran was on course to revitalise Four Tet and kick it in a different corner. Listening to There Is Love In You, there’s no doubt he’s giving it a good go. Adopting a resolutely more dance floor friendly attitude and integrating some of the touches that have filtered through dubstep in recent years, Hebden is clearly in touch with what’s going on. The result, however, is rather lacklustre. Things start pretty well with the surprisingly stripped down, yet decidedly summery Angel Echoes, with its almost Burial-esque polished ghostly vocal brushes, definitely bears the Four Tet stamp, while the fairly minimal outlines of recent EP lead track Love Cry, build on a slender hypnotic groove and more looped vocal samples, and the heady heights of Circling, which neatly grows from its acoustic opening to a much more weighted electronic middle section, are pretty strong offerings.

Soon though, it becomes apparent that Hebden tries to make a few ideas go a long way. Like on Ringer, there is much emphasis on openly electronic sounds here, with Krautrock and kosmische providing clear signposts along the way, but this is not quite as radical a reassessmen of the Four Tet equation as one could have hoped for. Hebden’s music has lost some of the lightness that gave his previous records their strong identity, yet the textural quality of a track like Ringer of the bold elegance of Swimmer, which both hinted at a new outlook, haven’t quite convincingly crossed over to the album. It is as if Hebden couldn’t quite decide whether to give his old self a good airing or take the plunge and embrace a grittier palette. Often, the tracks fail to really take off in any particular direction, and Hebden ends up chasing his own tail.

There are, beside the aforementioned Angel Echoes, Love Cry and Circling, some pretty exquisite moments scattered through this album, like the way the vibrant melody of This Unfolds catches the light, the aquatic simplicity of Reversing or the refreshingly poetic earthiness of Plastic People, but this is not quite sufficient to make these strongly memorable, and the album eventually slips into a semi comatose state in its latter part as tracks rush by without making much of a mark.

Echoing its title, there is a drive in this album which fuels some parts of it superbly, yet vanishes almost entirely from others. It is clear that Kieran Hebden’s intentions with There Is Love In You were to move away from the delicate flourishes of previous outputs and head into a new direction, but he doesn’t quite manage to shed his own skin entirely and ends up dragging his feet for part of the record, leaving behind a feeling of lost opportunities.


Four Tet | Four Tet (MySpace) | Domino Recording Co.
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD Amazon US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP

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