Kieran Hebden covers all bases. If nothing else, you have to give him that. Each album he’s produced under the name Four Tet has incorporated lashings of pretty much every genre you can imagine, from the obvious and official label of electronic to jazz, dub and folk. In this respect, ‘Pink’ is no different, and offers an impressive range of styles across its eight tracks. Sadly, though, the album never quite seems to take off; as a listener I found myself consistently hoping for something more.
While ‘Locked’ and ‘Lion’ are pleasantly ambient, they both felt somewhat lacking. While I’m your average folk appreciator in the majority of my music tastes, my forays in to other electro bands such as the brilliant Fuck Buttons left me wanting something better defined – it’s as if, for Four Tet, the concepts are there without the tracks being able to develop to their full capacity.
Saying that, the album’s slow start is appeased by the far more engaging ‘Jupiters’, ‘Ocoras’ and ‘128 Harps’. ‘Ocoras’, especially, builds and grows throughout, layering synth and drums up to a relatively satisfying finish. And yet, still, it felt as if something was missing. While Four Tet is a far more tasteful outfit than your standard club DJ, at times I felt myself twiddling my fingers in expectation of some kind of drop. Although this anticipation has probably been induced by one too many York club nights, and a lack of decent electro culturing in my small Welsh hometown, it did cause the album as a whole to feel somewhat frustrating. Perhaps this anticipation is the magic of the album for many, but with tracks of up to almost eleven and a half minutes, it’s not wrong to expect more than just solid layering and a mish-mash of diverse genres.
To give Hebden his credit, each track does share a dream-like quality supported by periods of quiet and selections of sweet techno-echoes, but as a whole, the album doesn’t slot together coherently. It’s neither calm enough to be a chill out record or lively enough to be blasted out of stereos, and though individual tracks have their merit (such as the distorted vocals in ‘Pyramid’, and the killer bass opening ‘Pinnacles’), the album as a whole falls just short of being anything more than decent.By Alex Morden Osborne