Mount Kimbie’s “Love What Survives” Album Review: Alternative Music for the Average Soul


British duo Mount Kimbie’s latest album features fascinating cover artwork.

“Damning in the corner/ Feeling like I don’t need anyone/ Losing my balance/ Making problems out of whatever I see.”

These lines from Mount Kimbie’s “You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure),” featuring Andrea Balency, seemingly define the album Love What Survives. It’s an album about pain and punishment, uncertainty and anxiety and the idea that although everything might be destroyed, you have to love what survives. 

British duo Mount Kimbie’s latest electronic lament is filled with vivacious energies; their post-dubstep sound is as refined as it is raucous. Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, the two musicians behind Mount Kimbie, successfully focus on the details of each beat. 

“Four Years and One Day,” the album opener, could be the soundtrack of an alien invasion. It is ominous, psychedelic and absolutely spectacular. It leads right into the King Krule-assisted “Blue Train Lines.” The song is a double-reference to trains and veins. Krule sounds especially angsty with his poetic narrative in this song. 

The album’s features are sparse but fitting. Besides Andrea Balency and King Krule, Mount Kimbie collaborates with singers Micachu and James Blake. Micachu delivers the catchiest vocals of the album on the song “Marilyn.” Mount Kimbie’s production on “Marilyn” is groovy and filled with swing. James Blake is featured twice, and his angelic voice dazzles. The outro to the album, “How We Got By (ft. James Blake),” is haunting, both in production and verse. Blake’s lyrics are bleak, repetitive and concise. 

Love What Survives is an interlude. The 39-minute album ends abruptly without any full sense of cohesion, paralleling the angst characteristic of the music and the lyrics. Mount Kimbie likely intentionally left the album this way to add a layer of incongruity. Thus in a certain sense, the album is complete – Love What Survives is for the listener. It can be taken as a meditation, therapy or a confirmation of the dreary coldness of the world. 

The best song of the album is the instrumental “Delta.” Think car racing video games, running montages and intense day dreaming. The song builds on itself and at times sounds similar to some moments on Radiohead’s Kid A.

For those unfamiliar with Mount Kimbie, Love What Survives is just as good an introduction to the group as the duo’s previous two albums, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth and Crooks & Lovers. For those on a time budget, watch the music video for “Delta.” It is a short film about a robbery. The footage is vintage and the video is entertaining. 

The artwork on the album cover is some of the most fascinating this year. Love What Survives is worth checking out based on its cover alone. 

Bottom line: if you’re into any sort of electronic music or alternative/indie rock, Love What Survives is worth the listen. The album is ripe for repeat listens and has the potential to ferment into something greater. 

Rating: 8.6/10 

Contact Tristan Niskanen at [email protected].