Boomkat Product Review:
James Blake does melancholy luxe on his 4th album, singing about the tribulations of life in LA over properly American hip-hop/R&B-styled productions featuring guest spots from Travis Scott, Rosalía, André 3000, Moses Sumney and Metro Boomin
Landing the opposite end of the decade to his debut album, and 10 years since he emerged to acclaim with the post-dubstep-defining debut 12”, ‘Assume Form’ is James Blake’s defining opus. In 12 songs it surely outlines why his services are in demand by everyone from Beyoncé and Jay Z to Kendrick Lamar and Oneohtrix Point Never, with the sort of hook-riddled songwriting that could appeal to the whole nuclear family in a marketing man’s fantasy.
At it’s worst, Blake’s lip-wobbling affectations here sound like folksy whimsy for a teen drama soundtrack or a dating service advert for posh people. But at best, on the smudged dembow drums and glassy baubles of his exquisite ‘Barefoot In The Park’ collaboration with Rosalía, or in the chamber-like mesh of classical keys and minimalist hip hop swing on ‘Where’s The Catch’ feat. André 3000, and the warbling introspection of ‘Don’t Miss It’, or his tender ‘Mile High’ slump with Travis Scott, he’s still the sweetest blue-eyed soul boy on road right now.