Kwes - Camden Crawl 2012 review
'A talent definitely worth shouting about'
Rebecca Laurence - 06 May 2012
Fitting for someone whose breakout single is called ‘Bashful’, there’s an awful lot of nervous
adjusting of instruments onstage at the Black Cap before Kwes
actually starts. Accompanied by a very youthful-looking all-female duo of drums and keys, with Kwes on bass duties, the trio give the first impression of an
awkwardly apprehensive school band about to play their first gig.
But then, they start playing, and naturally the band falls into a groove, and the late-night Camden crowd relax into it too. Their set is only five songs long (Kwes has yet to release a full-length record). Although with two EPs – 2010’s ‘No Need to Run’ and ‘Meantime’ released in April, and a couple of collaborative mixtape releases under the name of Kwesachu (a collaboration with Micahu), Warp-signed Kwes has been quietly building up his repertoire over the last couple of years. He’s also a bit of a multi-tasker on the British hip-hop scene, performing and producing for the likes of Speech Debelle, reworking Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s opera, ‘Monkey’ and collaborating with Dels and Ghostpoet.
His set may be short in number, but each tune is stretched out and worked out with almost-Battles-like polyrhythms in parts, and, like on ‘Broke’, with heartbreaking soulfulness in others. ‘Bashful’ demonstrates Kwes’ knack for a groove-laden laid-back pop hit, while his plaintive vocal style perfectly represents his mumbling melancholic vibe. He may be ‘Bashful’ but Kwes’ is a talent definitely worth shouting about.
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