This is the second EP from the remarkable Benjamin Clementine one of the most intriguing singers to emerge in the UK music scene since who knows when. Following his debut EP 2014's "Glorious You" sees the deepening of the Londoners songwriting to deal with themes of loss and parting in his unique expressionist and personal way. His music does not fit neatly into any musical box. His time busking in Paris has made him conscious of the shortcomings of many British singers. As he states ""Having a spell in France, they put a lot of detail into the lyrics, it's very important because everyone is listening to what they are saying. It's like a play. But I'm quite fortunate because, with me, it's not a play. It's real."
No where is this more clear on the opener to this album the superb "Condolences" a song which arrives completely formed starting with almost a classical motif but extending into a tour de force of passionate Buckley-esque lyrics especially the opening lines "I am alone in a box of stone/When all is said and done/As the wind blows to the east from the west /Unto this bed, my tears have their solemn rest". Even more surprising is "Adios" which is in essence Clementine's "Sinnerman". It has that tell tale rolling piano and Clementine anchoring the song with the repeated phrase "the decision is mine/let the lesson be mine". At the mid point he stops the song to undertake a spoken passage to highlight why people who read his songs as dark are mistaken and that Infact he is inspired by angels. At this point he goes on to sing in falsetto his interpretation of how an angel may sound until the piano riff creeps back in! Yes it sounds like pseuds corner and yet somehow he pull it off.
The last two songs include a wicked homage to his home in "Edmonton" in London which is a highly theatrical song hidden within a slow swinging ballad while "Mathematics" is a tender love song where Clementine's vocal is hugely emotive and controlled. Overall "Glorious You" confirms the promise on his debut EP. Here is an English artist who owes debts to singers as varied as Léo Ferré, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel but is unmistakably of his own time. The future sound of London.
Review by Red on Black