(Disclaimer: this is my first music review, ever. So don't be too harsh... I also don't live in the UK.)
If you live in the UK and follow music quite a bit, then you might have already heard of James Blake. This British musician, known for his use of dubstep by several, seemed to grab the attention of many people with his release of EPs such as "CMYK" and "Klavierwerke" back in 2010 and his success only seemed to skyrocket in the UK with the recent release of his new cover of the Feist song "Limit to your love." A song so dumbed down and minimalist to the point where it actually seems to outdo the original.
With all the hype that seemed to surround the album, I highly believe that it lived up to it. James Blake really is one of the few people that are pushing this type of minimalistic music at the moment. Similar to what happened with Animal collective last decade, I believe his music may end up creating a surplus of clones by the end of this decade and has the potential to be the most influential as well.
One thing I loved about this album is how the dubstep in the background of most songs is modified and formed into something completely different and indistinguishable than typical dubstep; However, I would not call James Blake dubstep artist as much as I would a minimalistic artist. In some songs such as "Lindesfarne 1" and "Limit to your love" there are intervals where there is no music or singing for more than 5 seconds, leaving you to anxiously anticipate the next sound untill it finally arrives. As painful and mind numbing as it sounds, it's ends up being very rewarding and works greatly.
Another thing I loved is how Blake's voice morphed in several songs as they build up from something monotonous yet enjoyable to extravagent. That being said, his vocals alone are fantastic. In songs such as "Wihelms Scream," the simple synth backed up by Blake's sultry vocals seems to work perfectly.
Right now, I would give this album an 8.8/10. This album is addictive. I've listened to it nearly 8 times already, and each time I listen to it I seem to discover something new that I enjoy about the album. To some people, this review may dissuade them from listening to this album, but that's the exact opposite of my intention. It may be an acquired taste, but a lot of great music is that way. This album hasn't even released yet, and I'm already craving to hear more from James Blake.