The iconic Warp records bring Bibio’s A Mineral Love to vinyl LP and CD. Bibio is constantly tweaking and developing his sound, and on this album he has shifted towards electronic funk. Here soulful vocals and boogie basslines float on a sad undercurrent. This record is another leap forward for Bibio’s organic, folk-influenced electronica.
6/10 Clinton Staff review, 30 March 2016
I’ve liked pretty much everything Bibio has done in the past. But perhaps not this. Well, not all of it.
It’s a mixed bag between some glorious soulful summery pop music and some major missteps which stop the album in it’s tracks. Let’s start with the good things. There are some gorgeous hazed out tracks that follow on nicely from his largely acoustic ‘Silver Wilkinson’ album. The opening ‘Petals’ consists purely of plucked acoustic guitars, dreamy vocals and some well placed backwards things. It’s a nice intro to the record. Later on there are some truly lovely moments. ‘C'est La Vie’ is how I’d hoped this album would sound - gorgeous, simple melodies fresh as a daisy on a summers day and ‘Wren’s Tails’ is an absolutely exquisite instrumental like John Fahey vs Boards of Canada and a reminder of how lovely Bibio’s music can be.
In between times we get a record that seems much less lush than previous Bibio records. The sound is thin and kind of cheesy. The title track is a good example - it is nice enough with it’s '70s soulful inflections but isn’t helped by a tinny drum machine. ‘Raxeira’ begins with pleasant acoustic guitar but both this track and ‘Town and Country’ have the sound of the incidental music from Sesame Street. These minor disappointments are nothing compared to the tracks where guest vocalists are used. ‘The Way You Talk’ (feat Gotye) is a pleasant enough shard of Mr Mister yacht rock but the pallid R&B of ‘Why So Serious?’ is truly appalling - a career nadir and singlehandedly manages to ruin the album as a listening experience. However much you might be enjoying the other sounds...you know it's lurking.
Bibio is an artist who keeps pushing forward and surprising his listeners. He could have easily continued being a kind of one man Boards of Canada tribute act but his last few records have shown enormous strides forward. However ‘A Mineral Love’ seems to push things too far and is too eclectic for it’s own good - like a mix tape you have to keep fast forwarding.
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- A Mineral Love by Bibio
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