Friday, August 16, 2019

'The Book of Traps and Lessons' by Kate Tempest

16 August 2019

Writing here in October 2014 I said “Kate Tempest is a name to watch.” Since then the South London poet/rapper/playwright/novelist has continued to impress, with an eclectic track record that has been consistently brilliant. Her new album ‘The Book of Traps and Lessons’ feels more reflective and less angry than its predecessor ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ (reviewed here in October 2016). The beats have been stripped back (by producer Rick Rubin) to leave Kate Tempest’s distinctive voice revealed more obviously as poetry backed by music, rather than rap. The wordplay is incredibly clever, full of double meanings that turn the sense of a phrase on a single word. Each track reveals more each time you listen to it. Tempest hasn’t lost her anger, suggesting the UK is a nation living “in the mouth of a breaking storm”. She says “I’m a child of the gimme more nation” and “our leaders aren’t even pretending not to be demons”. But the scale of our looming crises now require more than anger and there is optimism in ‘The Book of Traps and Lessons’ in its celebration of love and dancing. Listen to the track ‘People’s Faces’ (and read the lyrics) at:

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