THAT’S THE SPIRIT

RE­MARK­ABLE RE­TURN FROM ONE OF BRI­TAIN’S MOST ORIG­I­NAL MCs.

Q (UK) - - Q Review New Albums - DARK DAYS & CANAPÉS PIAS, OUT 18 AU­GUST

GHOSTPOET

If good things re­ally do come to those who wait, Obaro Ejimiwe is over­due a change of for­tunes. Now 34 and twice over­looked for the Mer­cury Prize, most re­cently with 2015’ s dar­ing di­rec­tion change Shed­ding Skin, he might eas­ily have faded away. Yet his fourth LP proves his strongest to date, a mes­meris­ing med­i­ta­tion on un­cer­tainty and un­ease, which bridges the gaps be­tween ur­ban po­etry, post-rock and brood­ing elec­tron­ica. Ejimiwe’s al­lu­sive, in­tro­spec­tive, al­most ca­sual tone con­tin­ues a lin­eage of rad­i­cally un­der­stated Bri­tish MCs, from Tricky through to post-dub­step tal­ents such as the late, great, Spaceape. But as­sisted by pro­ducer and some­time Brian Eno col­lab­o­ra­tor Leo Abra­hams, the South London-born word­smith has also ex­panded his mu­si­cal hori­zons. Tak­ing un­likely in­spi­ra­tion from Talk Talk’s late-pe­riod mas­ter­work Laugh­ing Stock, the re­sult crack­les with cre­ative syn­er­gies, Trou­ble + Me re­call­ing TV On The Ra­dio’s sin­u­ous funk-rock, Freak­show fired up on spiky, Afro-in­fused dub and Live>Leave imag­in­ing what might hap­pen if Ra­dio­head tack­led hip-hop. Through it all be­guil­ing, cryp­tic phrases re­cur, not least the iron­i­cally dole­ful and strangely ad­dic­tive “palm trees and Ap­ple­ti­nis” re­frain, which weaves through the ex­pan­sive strings and plink­ing piano of Blind As A Bat…. A richer, more sat­is­fy­ing brew than the guest-packed Shed­ding Skin, Dark Days & Canapés also finds its au­thor speak­ing with new con­fi­dence – on Woe Is Meee, Mas­sive At­tack’s Daddy G is one of just two guest vo­cal­ists made to play a strictly sup­port­ing role. Ejimiwe’s stage name may sug­gest a va­porous, wraith-like pres­ence, but this is a state­ment of real sub­stance. RU­PERT HOWE Lis­ten To: Trou­ble + Me | Freak­show | Live>Leave

Ghostpoet: “bridg­ing the gap be­tween ur­ban po­etry, post-rock and brood­ing elec­tron­ica.”

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