Four Tet – There Is Love In You

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There Is Love In You is one of those albums that ought to appeal to more than just the kids already invested in the genre. The vocal samples on “Sing” sounds suspiciously like The Knife’s Karin Andersson if she were a touch sweeter; the ones on “She Just Likes to Fight” sound like M83’s Anthony Gonzalez if he just worried more about melody instead of lyrics; “Pablo’s Heart” – despite being just a nice tribute to his in utero godson – sounds like it was inspired by the last few seconds of Sigur Ros’ “Svefn-g-englar” (and given his post-rock alter ego, it wouldn’t surprise me if Four Tet were a fan of that record); I don’t know what the sample for “Angel Echoes” is (and Four Tet won’t tell us), but it sounds rearranged for a one-woman gospel like effect. The rock kids, who laugh at EDM for being repetitive have no stones to throw here – despite songs being longer on average than his previous albums, Kieran Hebden is constantly adding new elements so subtly, you barely notice them as you play these songs through, but if you just skip to a random part of the track, you’ll wonder where a new sound came from and how it got there.

The first half of the album – denoted by “Pablo’s Heart” – are all great. “Angel Echoes” is a wonderful choice of an opener because the vocal sample is more prominent here than anywhere else (sounds just like what the title would have you believe; the vocal samples I talked about in the first paragraph are the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quality), and Four Tet still manages to direct it through a subtle crescendo despite being the shortest non-interlude track here. In particular, I love the layered vocals that cut off “There’s no–” (sounds like “Ahhh!” on top of a “Can you–”) – like a reassurance that whatever there’s none of will be okay. “Love Cry” is easily the most danceable track of the entire album thanks to insistent drumming that practically carry the first 3 minutes by itself. The vocal sample manages to place Four Tet as ahead of the curb in the re-emergence of R&B and if you haven’t started dancing by the 5:30 mark, you likely will start when the bass comes in. “Circling” lays down a simple melody (hint: it circles) such that Four Tet can add layers and layers for harmonic bliss before deconstructing the whole thing and starting over with new sounds.

Unfortunately, there’s a slip in quality in the album’s second half. “This Unfolds,” which like “Angel Echoes” or “Circling”, does exactly what the title promised, but the problem is it takes must longer to do so than either, and while “Love Cry” was longer, it was also more arresting. “Reversing” is harmless, certainly, but the prominent use of the shaker is seen again on “Plastic People” that follows; the results of hearing them back-to-back makes for too much same-y-ness on an otherwise really well-structured album. The stop-start riff of “Sing” is certainly the album’s most playful trick, but when it drives the track for 7-minutes, things do threaten to get tedious, even with the buoyant keyboard and vocals (that could have come in a little earlier so the thing could have ended sooner). Elsewhere, “Plastic People” – named a London club where he worked leading up to There Is Love In You – is perhaps the most danceable track besides “Love Cry.” For an album that constantly uses 4/4 beats consistent with EDM – it’s obviously more in touch with IDM – dance music made to not dance to. I’d suggest a throwing this on during a late-night walk home from a club – before the drugs and alcohol wears off.

Which makes “She Just Likes to Fight” – great title – a wonderful closer (I reiterate: a really well-structured album). It’s obviously been included for the people who can’t move past 2003’s Rounds, despite the fact that Four Tet has obviously moved on since – the only thing here that could be called “folktronica.” To me, it sounds like an In Rainbows cut, before Thom Yorke had a chance to put his vocals on top of it and if Phil Selway were a more varied drummer. I mean, the guitar tones are the exact same dream pop-like quality, and the occasional twinkle is the sort of addition that Nigel Godrich would have added if Radiohead were the twinkly type. The bubbles that comprise the coda are like that brief thought where you don’t want to fall asleep because you’re so blissful and maybe – just maybe – the hangover won’t be so bad tomorrow.

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