In which a group of young, technically proficient people get together and record jazzy covers of whatever’s hip and happening (Earl Sweatshirt, James Blake, Tyler, the Creator, James Blake again, Kanye West and My Bloody Valentine; can we get more hipster picks?). Sort of like Brad Mehldau playing Radiohead a decade earlier. But when songs deviate so far from the source material until they’re unrecognizable as on “Earl” and “Flashing Lights,” it feels like they’re pandering; why not just drop the original’s hooks altogether (the machine gun burst of the former and the synthesized orchestra of the latter), and come out with your own set of original songs? Because the people who came here for the covers wouldn’t have otherwise been assed? Gotcha; pandering.
Elsewhere, they have no idea what a rest is, and thus, the tension created from empty spaces in James Blake’s “Limit to Your Love” is nowhere to be found in their cover which makes it a slog to get to their stormy conclusion despite being one of the shortest tracks on an album full of unnecessarily long ones. Broadly speaking, everything is mixed insufferably loud as is modern music’s want and wont; the drummer in particular sounds like he’s compensating for some sort of complex. An unintended result is that whenever “CMYK” – James Blake’s biggest banger – drops the bass, literally nothing happens because of the lack of dynamics (so instead, they throw these nauseating stop-starts throughout).
No one is denying that they aren’t young, but the fact that they so boldly announce it (“No one above the age of 21 was involved in the making of this album”) makes it seem like a defense mechanism so if someone ever says “This sucks,” people can just defend it by saying “Well, they’re young, so…”, and no one is denying that they aren’t technically proficient, because they are. But neither of those details changes the fact that this does suck.