Albums to watch

Assume Form

James Blake

Assume Form

Fourth album from the London-born singer-songwriter and electronic producer working with Dominic Maker and Metro Boomin

ADM rating[?]

7.4

Label
Polydor
UK Release date
18/01/2019
US Release date
18/01/2019
  1. 10.0 |   The Independent

    It’s a welcome reminder that love can still offer genuine refuge from the increasingly apocalyptic news cycle. And it plays like a bubble of personal bliss in an ocean full of plastic
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  2. 10.0 |   NME

    The first five-star album of 2019! Proof that James Blake is one of the world’s greatest producers, this loved-up fourth record, featuring Andre 3000 and Travis Scott, sees him finally in control as a brilliant songwriter and emotive lyricist
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  3. 9.1 |   Consequence Of Sound

    Even with a finale that slightly underwhelms, Assume Form is a remarkable achievement by one of the most original songwriters of his generation
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  4. 8.4 |   Resident Advisor

    It's an album that steps out of the cloistered space of his past music into the world around it. A little pop music seeps into his usual electronic soul and gospel style
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  5. 8.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    We were lucky to have something as insightful and forward-thinking as James Blake; we’re luckier still to have this one
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  6. 8.0 |   God Is In The TV

    It’s a record of contrasts; of blending the dark with an ever-growing light; of wrestling with the demons that hold us back as human beings and, eventually, hopefully, winning
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  7. 8.0 |   Exclaim

    The cover art finds Blake in repose, hands behind his head, staring into the camera. No longer masked by double exposure, deep blues and greys, Assume Form is Blake coming into focus
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  8. 8.0 |   Mojo

    Uplifting treatise on love and its fragility. Print edition only

  9. 8.0 |   Q

    Reveals himself as an artist at the peak of his powers. Print edition only

  10. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Blake is clearly in a good place, unexpectedly embedded at the centre of pop culture, and his new album adds bright colours to his sound
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  11. 8.0 |   DIY

    His this vulnerability and straightforwardness seeps into every facet
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  12. 8.0 |   NOW

    With his darkness and paranoia balanced by lovesick optimism, music's favourite sad boy sounds like he's finally ready to be happy – or at least try to be
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  13. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    One of the reasons he works so well with others, I suspect, is that as finely wrought as his compositions are, they lack a certain presence — a problem mostly dispelled on his fourth album
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  14. 8.0 |   music OMH

    It’s clear that the polymath has made an album that allows him to indulge his multiple talents without being self-indulgent: a record of its time and for its time, and one of his best
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  15. 8.0 |   Gig Soup

    Blake manages to deal with darker aspects without making the record at all difficult to digest
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  16. 7.5 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    Once it’s clear that Blake’s rosier state of mind hasn’t translated to new figures and sounds, Assume Form disappoints
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  17. 7.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    His most direct, sincere LP yet
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  18. 7.5 |   The 405

    Sonically, Assume Form might be his most approachable album to date, but its emotions are anything but simple
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  19. 7.5 |   A.V. Club

    James Blake’s Assume Form is both a surprising twist and a logical conclusion
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  20. 7.0 |   Tiny Mix Tapes

    See review
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  21. 7.0 |   No Ripcord

    Blake’s ability to both appease and innovate makes for an always transfixing, if occasionally frustrating, album experience
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  22. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    There’s also a noticeably heavier leaning towards hip hop and R&B production than previously, with the end result being a perfect blend of avant-garde ambience and bass-heavy, head-nodding beats. It’s a super classy effort
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  23. 7.0 |   All Music

    In some ways it's hard not to miss that trademark ache and downcast minimalism, but these 12 songs represent artistic development and a strike at emotional vulnerability from a talent who could have tread well-known territory indefinitely. At times, the changes feel experimental and uneven, but when they connect, the shifting perspectives of Assume Form are refreshing
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  24. 7.0 |   Clash

    The master of restraint returns with quietly confident fourth album
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  25. 6.0 |   The Observer

    A love letter to his partner brimming with guest spots and west-coast vibes, James Blake’s fourth LP is a long way from his ‘blubstep’ roots
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  26. 6.0 |   The FT

    Rich music and guest appearances celebrate a new-found sense of companionship
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  27. 6.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Synthy pop and melody that feels more generic than conceptual
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  28. 6.0 |   Under The Radar

    A good, sometimes excellent, yet quite uneven record
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  29. 6.0 |   Crack

    Blake has a propensity to blur the edges, leaving cadences unresolved and spaces unfilled. This has led him into dark and lonesome territory before, allowing his opaque lyrics to come off as emotionally complex when, maybe, they weren’t. On Assume Form, he’s tried to seal up the leaks and make everything solid, but he doesn’t have all the right pieces
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  30. 5.8 |   Pitchfork

    There’s a suffocating seriousness that runs through the singer and producer’s fourth album, one that bogs down genuine moments of levity and love
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  31. 5.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    Assume Form isn’t bad because it’s a sellout. It’s bad for other reasons
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  32. 5.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    The 12 tracks don’t precisely chronicle the Londoner’s newly opened emotions but there’s a quickening of the musical pulse that replaces his erstwhile glacial crawl with a sound approximating soulful warmth
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