Album review: Assume Form by James Blake
A study in both emotional vocal integration and atmospheric minimalist instrumentals, James Blake navigates the impossible task of never being overshadowed by A-list features on his fourth LP, Assume Form.
Soft but striking throughout, Blake finds space to croon and hit shaking falsetto choruses to fantastic effect. Whether it’s over trap-beats on co-produced Metro Boomin tracks “Mile High” and “Tell Them,” or over humming and plucked strings on tracks like “Assume Form” and “Into the Red,” Blake soars regardless of the setting.
Adding to his growing list of show-stealing features over recent years, André 3000 returns to deliver a reminder of his well deserved contemporary legend status on dizzying late-album track “Where’s the Catch,” an immediate stand out on an already solid album.
Blake’s distinct tone and production style makes Assume Form an endlessly intriguing listen, setting the bar for 2019 releases high early on, hopefully acting as a push for further excellence throughout the year.
– Nathan Kunz