James Blake: Assume Form review – lovestruck producer turns dark into light | Alexis Petridis’ album of the week

Blake is clearly in a good place, unexpectedly embedded at the centre of pop culture, and his new album adds bright colours to his sound

It feels strange now to recall a time when James Blake’s elevation from underground post-dubstep auteur to hotly-tipped mainstream artist seemed like the result of a clerical error. It was hard not to be impressed by his eponymous 2011 debut album, but it was equally hard not to wonder whether this really was the stuff of which silver medals in the BBC Sound of … poll and spots on the Radio 1 A-list were made. If you listened to its sparse, abstract, deeply uncommercial assemblages of treated vocals, electronics and piano, there was something very odd indeed about his name being mentioned in the same breath as Jessie J.

Related: James Blake speaks out about struggle with depression

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