Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Kate Tempest

  • Everybody Down [Big Dada, 2014] A
  • Let Them Eat Chaos [Lex, 2016] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Everybody Down [Big Dada, 2014]
In which a young Ted Hughes Award poet fashions a concept album with a fully coherent narrative that engages solely as music when you don't feel like following its well-mapped twists. Starring a coke dealer who wants out, his underemployed younger brother, and the waitress turned masseuse both have a yen for, the plot sketches an alienated love triangle hooked on a heist with a hole in it. London electronipop luminary Dan Carey enhances Tempest's accent, which is firmly antiposh without the slightest Cockney affectation, and flow, which is unfailingly distinct without a hint of elocution lessons. The story gives London's boho-pop demimonde family ties, and the songs are so specific about alienated love in that demimonde that you could imagine Tempest making a novel out of it. That novel is due out later this year. A

Let Them Eat Chaos [Lex, 2016]
There are just seven insomniacs awake at 4:18 AM on one South London block, so Tempest rhymes their suffering over music that backs more than it powers, leaving us free to wonder--how are the sleepers doing, anyway? ("We Die," "Breaks") **