Album Review, James Blake, James Blake Album Review, James Blake Review, Toro Y Moi, Toro Y Moi Review, Toro Y Moi Underneath The Pine, Toro Y Moi Underneath The Pine Review, Underneath The Pine, Underneath The Pine Review
>Sorry for all these breaks, you know sometimes just LIFE gets in the way (life and laziness LOL!!) but I have a to-do list of a couple albums I need to get through so this will be the first of a few new blog posts so get ready! This first post will be about The Growers, two albums that didn’t immediately blow me away but have since shown their worth.
Two Indie favorites of this year James Blake and Toro Y Moi have been sitting in my iTunes for a few months, and while initially I had lukewarm feelings about both albums they have really grown on me and showed that subtlety can be a stand out.
Toro Y Moi‘s second album “Underneath The Pine”
is a really relaxing chill album with heavy disco, R&B and funk inspiration. The albums first single “Still Sound” is the best example for his sound, a late 70’s track that Chaka Khan could have easily wailed over, while “New Beat” could have been an Evelyn “Champagne” King disco stomper. The album isn’t devoted to disco though, Toro manages to merge the lush instrumentation of the 70’s with the chilled out electronic sound of today and with great effect especially on the album closer “Elise”. The problem with the album however is Toro’s vocal chops, when you hear these songs that could easily be taken on by powerhouse singers it sounds a little off when he comes on the tracks with his very limited vocal ability. In fact some of the better tracks on the album have little to no vocals, leaving the listener to wonder how much more effective the album would have been as a straight instrumental album. The vocals are definitely in the vain of the Indie scene he is a part of where they seem to have no care about things like tone and pitch when singing. And as mentioned before this isn’t just a typical 70’s throwback album so the off-kilter overall production makes sense after a few listens. All in all the album is a great groovy listen and shows promise, if not for his singing definitley for his production which would match nicely with some of the top artists of the day (Christina Aguilera needs to swoop him up quick, his sound and her voice would match up perfectly).
James Blake‘s self titled debut came earlier this year, and he’s almost the opposite of Toro Y Moi. Blake possesses a really strong, husky and soulful voice but on this album he uses it on top of some very low-key and chilled electronic tracks. Critics have considered him a Dubstep artist which confused me as nothing on this album is traditionally Dubstep, maybe more Dub than Step since most of the album is very moody and calm with electro-effects playing subtly in the background. Rarely ever using more than 10 words for a full song, the songs swell and build up to pretty amazing climaxes. Upon first listen, the songs might seem dull or too weird, but on repeated listens you can appreciate the nuances Blake uses as a producer. “I Never Learnt To Share” and “I Mind” are great examples, very simple stuff but with the correct headphones or speaker system you can feel the love and patience he put into every electro-tweek and keyboard sequence. And even with a majority of the tracks being very ambient and experimental, there are a few tracks that could actually work on radio like first single “Limit To Your Love” and “The Wilhelm Scream” which are both a lot less stark than the rest of the album and show off both his voice and his production skills.