Friday, October 14, 2016

'Let Them Eat Chaos' by Kate Tempest

14 October 2016

When I first discovered the poet/rapper/playwright/novelist Kate Tempest, two years ago, I described her album 'Everybody Down' (reviewed here in October 2014) as “a radio play, written in verse, with background music”. Kate Tempest’s new album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ feels like a maturing of this particular form of spoken word, musical narrative. It’s 4.18 am and, on a street somewhere in London, “seven different people in seven different flats are wide awake – they can’t sleep”. ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ tells each of their stories in turn. Kate Tempest again conjures up a cast of compellingly real characters, drawing their lives in an intricate mosaic of witty wordplay that is always erudite while also reflecting the language the individuals themselves would use. Considering the album as a collection of songs, there are some catchy tracks but this is an audio play that demands attention rather than background music. ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ introduces us to a diverse set of personalities, pulled together by Kate Tempest’s distinctive South London voice. It is a measure of her cultural standing that she was able to launch this new album by performing the whole thing live on BBC2 last Saturday evening. Her word-perfect performance was a tour-de-force and you can still watch it at:

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