Ms. Lauryn Hill + The channeling of a timeless and benevolent spirit + Mike Skinner (with a splash of William Blake) = something quite similar to – but not quite - Kate Tempest
With her debut novel, The Bricks that Built the Houses, hot off the press, Kate Tempest enumerates ‘the Artist’. Poet, rapper, playwright, novelist; this is a woman intent on blurring the lines that confine creativity to commodity and commercialization.
Nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2014, Tempest’s first solo album, Everybody Down, tore through critical acclaim like a mad dog. The 12-track tale tells of the lives of four twenty-something Londoners slipping through the cracks in their capital city.
Like any good party, the album’s story is stained and sustained by sex, drugs* and dirty, dirty bass. At times Jäger-bomb-ic in their nature, her music and message contain a wordless purpose; a gravity strapped to an electric, surging urgency that seems to come from somewhere else – perhaps, in part, the talents of the album’s producer, Dan Carey, of Big Dada.
As consistent as meter, Tempest’s body of work illuminates the inexpressible, managing to articulate the essence of pure thought. Her music holds itself like a collage; each note, beat, and tongue-twisting turn of phrase tied together like a spider’s web - catchy.
Igniting the mic as part of South-London trinity, Sound of Rum, Kate Tempest shared her first taste of cult success. The band, with their thoughtful sound and intricate interplay of noise and meaning, certainly nursed Tempest’s talents and cut the path to her success, whilst providing a very necessary calm before the storm. This track from their debut album Balance, does well to demonstrate the band’s musical dexterity:
So please, for the good of society, give her a listen. Throw language to the wind and hear it howl. If you don’t find the hammering truth in her lyrics, then your feet will be sure to find it in the beat.
*Yes, alcohol is a drug… sugar too, for that matter!