In the last few years there’s been a full-on explosion of retro-futurist R&B singers so it’s hard to get excited by the prospect of yet another one. Nevertheless British crooner/producer Kwes has emerged with his debut full-length ilp a release that effectively offers more style than substance.
In many ways Kwes is Warp’s attempt to nab a bit of that James Blake market share but it quickly becomes clear that they’ve bet on the wrong horse here. With a mournful frustratingly fragile voice and some hazy electronic atmospheres Kwes most definitely has the post-dubstep formula down to a tee but the record takes the meaning of “bedroom producer” to the next level by sounding as languid and lethargic as you can get like Kwes should have hit “snooze” rather than “record.”
More importantly though Kwes isn’t pushing any boundaries here with ilp sounding way too familiar for comfort as he retraces the steps of like-minded British peers. If ilp was released a year or two ago it would have been well worth the price of admission. But at the tail end of 2013 it feels like too little too late.