Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Potholes
Listening to this album leaves me feeling like a deer in the headlights. I have to admit that I never gave Four Tet a fair shake in my genre-wandering days; I must have taken Prefuse 73 in some argument somewhere and never looked back. But last year’s collaboration with Burial had me looking forward to this release because Kieran Hebden’s stuff, while not my cup of tea, definitely had an energy most of Burial’s music lacks: happiness. I’ve read a few people refer to Hebden’s music as nostalgic, which makes sense during the opening of “Circling”. The pads there sound very similar to something Boards of Canada would do until the tempo, like many of the tracks here, begins to rise into dance floor territory.
The intent of There Is Love in You is pretty clear from the start. “Angel Echoes” is a superbly upbeat song, full of warmth and vocals chopped to suit the song’s title. And “Love Cry” is a monumental club jam that doesn’t lose any momentum until an unfortunately abrupt ending that feels a little awkward after so many extended developments. The album continues to feel well paced through “Pablo’s Heart”, which samples vocals similar to either Jónsi of Sigur Rós or Karin Dreijer of The Knife.
Unfortunately, while I think all these tracks are impressive technically, sometimes I can’t shake the feeling Hebden is dragging things out a minute or two longer than he really needed to. I completely understand the impulse; if I were crafting grooves this thick, I might think twice about cutting the tape too. This is really more of a conversation for me to have with dance music in general, but on There Is Love in You it’s really only “Love Cry” that I feel earns it’s 6+ minutes of run time. “This Unfolds” offers a change in the action with its heavy debt to post-rock, but as the action goes along I start finding it harder to pay attention. While Hebden succeeds at shining a light on Burial’s process, he hasn’t figured out how to harness it in equally gripping ways.
Ultimately, there’s not a lot about There Is Love in You that sounds like a progression. Rather, it summarizes many facets of the past ten years in dance music as seen through the lens of Keiran Hebden. “Plastic People” exposes as much darkness as he can convince himself of, but for the most part this is an active, motivating album that happens to sound sick on headphones as well. I’m a little disappointed that this album is a personal dream come true in concept but just comes short of the mark in execution, but that’s just my response. This is definitely an album worth checking out for house heads, fans of Bibio’s latest album (“She Just Likes to Fight”), Four Tet and Burial (not much dubstep here, though, I should be clear). One of 2010′s first surprises.