Darkstar – Foam Island

Album Review by Tom Short | 15 Sep 2015
Album title: Foam Island
Artist: Darkstar
Label: Warp
Release date: 25 Sep

The cold landscapes of Darkstar’s work have always been permeated with glimmers of humanity. James Buttery’s vocals on North flickered like snatches of breath amidst all the factory smoke, while 2013’s News From Nowhere’s pastoral charms were borne out during a period of monastic seclusion in the Yorkshire countryside.

Foam Island’s jittery beats sound decidedly London influenced, but it has a sweeping, state-of-the-nation feel. Songs are punctuated by fragments of interviews conducted with young people in West Yorkshire during the General Election. Each segment is largely well executed, with the duo’s queasy constructions lending even mundane observations a solemn intensity, and the guiding principle of Aiden Whalley’s gorgeous croon could quite easily lead the group into chart territory on several tracks. Combining their earlier fascination with interlocking beats with a new maturity and pop savoir-faire, this is a reconciliation of Darkstar’s teeming musical impulses. 

Playing Headrow House, Leeds on 29 Oct http://www.darkstar.ws