Mount Kimbie


Electronic duo Dominic Maker and Kai Campos have been making music as Mount Kimbie since 2008, formed out of the awfully named ‘post-dubstep’ movement that also saw the rise of one James Blake, who went on to be quite the big deal himself. Their debut Crooks and Lovers was an instant classic, their follow up Spring Fault Less Youth was slightly underwhelming to these ears, but earlier this year they released their third effort, Love What Survives, and it’s a genuine album of the year contender. Collaborating with the likes of King Krule, Micachu and the aforementioned James Blake, it’s a stunning effort that has rarely left my ears since it came out. Subsequently, my anticipation for this evening’s show is pretty much at fever pitch – I’ve been banging on about it to anyone who’ll listen (and those who wouldn’t).

However, the reality is somewhat like their second album: enjoyable, but a tad underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, they were great, but the whole thing was somehow a bit flat. Playing the majority of their new album, they open with ‘Four Years and One Day’, and the standout track ‘Marilyn’ is stunning, but songs like ‘You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure)’ and ‘Delta’ don’t quite pop and fizzle like I thought they would, despite the impressive live set up. Older songs ‘Field’ and ‘So Many Time, So Many Ways’ still sound brilliant, but a bit lightweight next to the brilliant newer material.

There are no guest spots from James Blake, in fact they don’t play either of the songs he features on from the new album, which is a shame as they’re both incredible slices of downbeat electro which would have provided a nice contrast to all the programmed beats. The unbelievably good ‘Blue Train Lines’, featuring King Krule (who himself has made a ridiculously good album this year with The Ooz), sounds great through the PA but is much like listening to it loudly through your speakers at home without the live presence of Archy Marshall himself.

It’s not Mount Kimbie’s fault, getting live vocalists to appear at a gig for one track doesn’t happen very often, but it does effect the overall vibe of the gig for me. Caught between a dance act and an indie vibe, they don’t quite pull either off fully, but I admire their effort in pulling off a fully live show, and kudos must go to the lighting guys who frame the band beautifully, at one point drenched in red, another time lit up by shimmering searchlights that punctuate the stage and crowd to stunning effect.

A short, one song encore rounds things off, and I can’t help but feel it’s been a bit of a missed opportunity. On the back of such a brilliant album, maybe my expectations were set too high, some of the best gigs I’ve seen this year have been electronic acts like Clark and Nicolas Jaar, but I’ll put this one down in the ‘good effort, could do better’ file.

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