Since the release of 2010’s colourful dance blanket, Crooks & Lovers, Mount Kimbie fans have been persistently sniffing the air for the slightest whiff of new material. Three years after their debut LP, with a label change and countless live performances at their rear, we arrive at Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, the much awaited sophomore album from Kai Campos and Dominic Maker.
Clearly wishing to jettison the inapt and vague stamp of ‘post-dubstep’ the group has altered their style so that it now resembles cavernous, beat-laden indie music. In fact, this subsequent jaunt plays more like a band adopting a digital structure than what’s actually happening, which is an electronic act sounding more live as they progress. That’s not to say that they haven’t always sounded live, Crooks & Lovers is full of rough cuts and slightly off-kilter beats that could only have come from the album’s instrumental elements, but in that pitted style of recording laid buckets of charm. Now, despite the fact that they come across as more instrumental, Mount Kimbie sound more polished than ever, only what they’ve gained in sheen they’ve lost in charm.
What Campos and Maker are relying on now is they’re ability pour heartfelt music onto an entirely new landscape, a feat they certainly accomplish but also one that’s sometimes overshadowed by the vastness of the terrain. It’s clear that Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is intended to be spacious. The only problem is that it’s so expansive at times that all the sentiment being pumped in gets lost in the ether.
When their efforts do hit home, however, they tend to soar. Aside from the obvious single release ‘Made to Stray’, halfway point ‘So Many Times, so Many Ways’ beacons as one of the album’s highlights as it moves from electronic pitter-patter to dreamy staircases and on to a meaty Joy Division-esque bass line. Then there are the tracks featuring King Krule, both of which conjure up genuine emotion while still managing to invoke an involuntary head bob. These two songs leave the rest in the dust in terms memorability and even though the addition of Campos’ vocals to this LP works well with their new style, King Krule’s works better.
One thing for sure is that they’re not giving into any pressures as to what Mount Kimbie should sound like. Cold Spring Fault Less Youth immediately comes across as an honest interpretation of the duo’s sonic desires. They get applause for simply flaunting the cojones to actually evolve musically instead of standing still. Key changes aside, Mount Kimbie are a hugely talented outfit, capable of bending the status quo and shattering preconceptions. Chances are that their magnum opus is still yet to come.