When Mount Kimbie first rappelled down the slope, every music writer pegged them as post-dubstep. Three years later, no one is quite clear what that meant. Presumably, it meant vocals, song structure, and sonic shades that could appeal to more than the color-blind. Crooks & Lovers remains one of the best records of 2010; it offered a softer melodic alternative to the Joker/Guido/Gemmy triumvirate and was less frenetic than Joy Orbison and the UK funky contingent. It elicited frequent comparisons to James Blake, for reasons that extended beyond close collaboration. They all took underground ideas and pairing them to traditional forms, but did it in a way that satisfied both snobs and those who believe everything read on Snopes.
In 2013, James Blake is basically the British Frank Ocean, while Kimbie have signed to Warp (read Aaron Frank’s Dec. interview), the gold standard of electronic music, known for their willingness to travel a few tokes towards the pop world. Point being, it’s the perfect home for two musicians as drawn to deep house as they are to Tame Impala and Ariel Pink. “Made to Stray” strikes that ideal balance. There are squiggling synths and skittering 4/4 drum beats that lead until a gorgeous bridge. The vocals don’t kick in until the 2:30 mark. They’re faded and weary, half-apology, half-admission. If the vocals were mixed too high or even if they came in too early, this could seem cheesy. But there is something slippery about this song. You’re not sure if they are trying to make you dance or smile or sob and that’s obviously their intent. Mount Kimbie keep it catchy while staying blurred.
Soundcloud link below the jump. (Via 405)