Kate Tempest: The Book of Traps and Lessons review – living poetry amid the chaos of 2019

(American Recordings/Fiction)
Producer Rick Rubin has pared back the effects, giving Tempest’s songs about trying to love and dance through our current crises room to reach out

Kate Tempest’s latest record finds beauty amidst breakdown. The spoken word poet – whose last album, 2016’s Let Them Eat Chaos, was nominated for the Mercury prize – is known for her chest-thumping, rousing statements. But on The Book of Traps and Lessons, she takes a macro view of people (in one breath-catching moment she counts: “7.2 billion humans … 7.3 billion humans …”, and on), before zooming right in to the smallest of intimacies. On Three Sided Coin, she captures the current turbulence of the UK, a nation living “in the mouth of a breaking storm”; and then, quickly, the track unspools into the softer-edged I Trap You, a meditation on a broken-down relationship.

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