18 October 2014

Kate Tempest - Everybody Down


Google the name Kate Tempest and you get a massive list of interviews, nominations, awards, the diversity of her work is incredible for someone quite young. Kate has been determined and has worked hard with disarming honesty and eloquence.' She's been shortlisted for the Merucy prize and named one of 20 next generation poets on the Poetry Book Coiety's once-per decade list' (Michael Hogan The Observer Sunday 14th September 2014. 

I’m sure to others her work is fantastic, but I’m finding it hard to say anything about it. 

The image on the cover with its innocent seeming face, clothing delicate and vintage looking is a little unusual when you then listen to is cockney rap poetry. It all sits strangely.  An arty bullshit word for this could be ‘juxtaposed’. Alternately it could be phrased as ‘difficult to pigionhole’ which is admirable. 

Kate’s lyrics suggest a person who observes the small details in life well to then tell a story. Its quirky, it’s different, but I’m not sure personally that I get it. I’m trying to work out what it is I don’t get and I’m stuck. 

Interesting electronic sampling and a beat is a background to the same sounding vocal each time. The inflection and emotion is sometimes there, but she sounds a bit bored, and the pace seems the same each time, like a nursery rhyme, like she’s reading from a book.           

Or maybe it’s because I prefer a deep voice, or somehow unwanted sexism has crept in unsuspected. I hope not. 

I like the track titled Truth-it’s like slam poetry to a track-the singing bit appears badly out of tune though-but it packs a punch, so maybe it was a conscious choice. 

The track ‘Theme from Becky’ seems to speak from the heart, like it’s based in real life for Kate. ‘I never wanted to be anybody but the person that I am and the things I discovered…’
I respect this woman’s approach and the interest in her is impressive, quite startling. But maybe I’m a troglodyte and I’m missing the reason behind the recent hype. In an effort to try and understand her work further,  I would be the first to admit my knowledge of such is zilch, I listened to some recordings and one stood out for me-More than a Desert on BBC Radio 3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04k7vqk is quite beautiful. However the album I’ve been given to blog about sounds like a soap opera in poetic form, mundane fixation on negative cynical pessimistic details.  I prefer escapism, music that is able to take you to somewhere new and different. This album just seems to grind the mind into the dirt of reality. No thanks.

2 out of ten - If only there was quality control


Top track - Truth

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Kate Tempest website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link to the album on Deezer here

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