Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons

Kate Tempest reinforces her poetic credentials on her fourth album, working with Rick Rubin to pare back accompaniment to a minimum. This suits her emotional transparency, but makes for uncomfortable listening.

On opener Thirsty, backed only by wraithlike synthesiser swirls, she’s “heart-broken, vomiting memories”, while, on I Trap You, an old 78rpm fails to distract from a painful revelation: “I called it ‘Love’/ I should have called it ‘Trap’”. The indignation remains entrenched, with Brown Eyed Man’s empathy underlined by sombre strings, Holy Elixir’s tension disturbed by the instruction “Don’t pay attention/ To what’s hanging from the rope”, and People’s Faces conceding “My country’s coming apart”. Only Keep Moving Don’t Move picks up the pace, its urgency no less ominous.

7/10

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Wyndham Wallace

 

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