- 08 Apr 22
Elegant wordsmith hits dizzying new heights.
Kae Tempest noticeably turns up the intensity dial on The Line Is A Curve. In particular, the production is more danceable, with the fresh electronic influence acting as a departure from The Book Of Traps And Lessons.
With immaculate grace, Tempest touches variously on the complexities of British national pride (‘Salt Coasts’); surrendering to love (‘Don’t You Ever’); and familial connection (‘Smoking’). Kae also tackles mental anguish, the search for an ultimate purpose and the changing socio-political landscape.
In addition, the Westminster poet, playwright and performer makes use of impeccable collaborators, from Kevin Abstract, Confucius MC and ãssia, to Grian Chatten and Lianne La Havas. The Fontaines D.C. frontman adds his trademark gritty declarations to pulsating synths on ‘I Saw Light’: “Some live it all out in lust of a stage / But you were busy trying to trap the heart on a page.”
Raw opener ‘Priority Boredom’ sees Kae declare themselves a “brand new self with an origin myth and skin in the game,” while ‘Nothing To Prove’ is pure hardcore power. Bluesy hip-hop track ‘No Prizes’ urges the listener to keep rising up, with time left on the clock to change your trajectory. Tempest explores the despairing disconnect from the institutions that govern us – and the unity that serves as the silver lining – but also saves room for fierce statements on the blistering, ruthless ‘Move’.
The Londoner insists there are still things to say “about the fullness and the blaze of this beautiful life”. Here’s hoping it stays that way.
Listen: ‘Nothing To Prove
The Line Is A Curve is out now on Fiction Records:
Read our chat with Kae Tempest in the current issue of Hot Press.