James Blake has always been an artist that is not afraid to bend the conventions of contemporary music, with his diverse influences and off-kilter approach seeing his name reach global recognition over the last decade. With his latest album “Friends That Break Your Heart”, we may have just witnessed Blake at his most raw self with some of the most intimate sounds we’ve come across that delve deep into the topics of love, friendships and loss.
Across the twelve tracks on offer are recent releases ‘Say What You Will’ and ‘Life Is Not The Same’, as well as the focus song for the release, ‘Famous Last Words’, which opens up the album with a glistening approach with the hypnotic keys bouncing around the mix, whilst Blake lures us in with those divine melodies (and superb harmonies) that will leave you in awe.
Throughout the duration of the release we experience several moments of ballads that see the instrumentation take a step back and leave Blake to drive the narrative with a “vocal-first” approach that sees him lay it all on the line with emotionally fuelled lyricism, but changes things up quite nicely with more buoyant and energised tracks such as ‘Foot Forward’, ‘I’m So Blessed You’re Mine’, ‘Coming Back’ (featuring SZA) and ‘Frozen’ (featuring JID & SwaVay) that dips into more of that R&B influence that we witnessed within his 2019 release “Assume Form”.
“Friends That Break Your Heart” is a true album in every sense of the notion, taking you on a spell-binding journey from the first track to the last that both warms your heart and tugs at your heart strings with its intimacy.