The anger is still there. Nevertheless, Kae Tempest’s fourth album »The Line Is a Curve« appears calmer and more reserved. It’s an »album about letting go. About feelings of shame, fears, loneliness – and about letting go of yourself: surrender as a way out.« That’s what Kae Tempest says about it ahead of its release. Which is pretty much the theme of the album this time around. It has no overarching motifs and structures similar to the ones that the arts sections were looking for in Tempest’s work in the past. In »No Prizes«, Tempest works through past decisions, while Lianne La Havas provides the vocals. Or in other words: it sounds like a song and not like the spoken word this time. Which is also because Tempest immerses himself much more in the sound around him. This didn’t work nearly as well as it did on »The Line Is a Curve«, even with Sound of Rum – because here there is much more variation. Sure, everything remains at a comfortable tempo, but in »Water in the Rain« a fragile instrumental emerges behind Tempest’s lyrics, while »Don’t You Ever« comes across as almost upbeat. Although the rhythm has to serve here and there as a clear metronome for the metre, it’s »Priority Boredom« that sets the right tone. Sound and lyrics blend together better and better here. Which doesn’t mean that the lyrics are less important than they were before. What is does mean that it’s an excellent album, a complete work. Or as Tempest himself put it in the essay »Connectedness«: »It may be that you forget the precise words, but you take the relationship to the lyrics with you for the rest of your life.« This album holds many such lyrics. And sometimes they are allowed to transport a sound to the listener’s brain.
The Line Is A Curve Black Vinyl Edition