Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos: What You Need To Know
As somebody who had already gained acclaim as a poet, playwright and spoken word artist before her debut album Everybody Down was catapulted onto the list of Mercury Prize nominees in 2014, Kate Tempest is not exactly your average rapper. If you've been paying attention you might have been aware of Tempest's work for a few years now; appearances at poetry slam events, support slots with the likes of Billy Bragg and Scroobius Pip, or even her commission by the Royal Shakespeare Company. But her crossover into music as a solo artist has opened up a whole new audience for her rare talents and this week she's back with her debut's follow-up, the superbly-titled Let Them Eat Chaos. Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
As if somehow her CV wasn't already varied enough, since her debut album Tempest has also added being an author to her arsenal of talents, publishing her first novel The Bricks That Built the Houses earlier this year -once again, to positive reviews. At the same time though she's been working on the follow-up to Everybody Down and began releasing new material back in August, starting with new track 'Don't Fall In'.
Who's producing it?
Dan Carey has been retained as producer, no doubt partly as a reward for his good wok on her debut, but the pair seem a good fit and Carey's wonky, disjointed beats on the album are a perfect counterpart to Tempest's lyrical delivery.
Any special guests?
Nope, it's just Kate on her own here, but she hardly needs any help.
What does it sound like?
While it's not exactly a concept album, the songs revolve around seven characters living on the same street whose lives converge and intersect following a huge storm. Musically speaking, Tempest and Carey have clearly been building on and refining the sound they developed for her debut, with the lead-off single 'Don't Fall In' being one the closest in style to the music on Everybody Down, with a tumbling, rollicking beat that fizzes and bleeps like something Dan le Sac might churn out. But they mix it up too and on 'Europe is Lost', for example, the mood is darker, all mangled guitars, hypnotic beats and moody piano chops. But it's Tempest's lyrics on this track – and on every other, for that matter – that grab your attention. Assessing the political and social landscape post-Brexit, Tempest dissects the scene of political indifference and racial tension, flipping between precisely-aimed barbs and verbal cluster bombs that bring the whole edifice crashing down. It's quite a thing.
It's not all rage and frustration; Tempest may be anywhere on the scale from shouting to whispering in quiet awe the way she does on 'Picture a Vacuum', but at every turn Let Them Eat Chaos is a roller-coaster ride of defiance, compassion and everything in between.
Does it deliver?
This is sharp and focussed work from a unique talent who seems to be able to turn her hand to almost anything involving words and still bring something original to the table. If you enjoyed Kate Tempest's debut then it goes without saying that you'll enjoy this too; Let Them Eat Chaos is every bit as vital as Everybody Down. If you somehow still haven't familiarised yourself with her work then we'd advise you to fix that as soon as possible, we can't recommend this highly enough.