Review of Love Songs: Part Two Album by Romare

We have two things to thank Archie Fairhurst (AKA Romare) for: the first was making us aware of his artistic inspiration and namesake, the inspirational African-American artist Romare Bearden and the second was for his magical, genre-hopping début Projections, released in 2014.

Romare Love Songs: Part Two Album

Fairhurst studied Bearden's work - mainly composed of dazzlingly inventive early twentieth century collages depicting scenes of rural life in America's deep south  - at University, and in many ways Projections was an aural depiction of that cultural alchemism, wildly inventive and yet oddly nostalgic.  In a review we referred to this non-linear atavism as "Boffintronica", a term which clearly no-one else has ever used but remains just as applicable to Love Songs: Part Two, a record which will cement the producer's work as some of the most consistently fascinating maestros in a field which continues to be choked with talented contemporaries.

The key here is evolution, a development of craft hatching in Darwinian phases. There are new fascinations and/or interpretations: the refracted curvature of L.U.V. Could be Boards of Canada without their video nasty obsession, whilst the tracing paper disco of Come Close To Me throws back tentatively to the likes of 90's left fielders Mouse On Mars.  Each track (And title) is in some way a devotional, musings Fairhurst has described in scope as being "From sexual urges to tender first encounters, from affairs to the questioning of one's love."

Ascribing a connection to something as multifarious as Love's various shades of psychosis can be at best a tenuous exercise. It's bled out on Je T'Aime, a mono-synth paean that smudges the ecstasy and warps it with tunnel vision care. Don't Stop though is neither the thrusting, heavy-breathathon suggested but instead a Spaghetti-Western, lust-in-the-dust epic with a hint of evil - nothing here is what it seems, which of itself is the most faithfully accurate rendering of the emotion possible.

As well as deepening and broadening his pan instrumentally to include his mum's recorder and dad's violin, this second work also reveals more, getting to intimate places which are closer to Projections' mostly obscured roots. This slow reveal is pronounced obviously on closer My Last Affair, jazz strained of most of its sex and japery, instead half itself, like looking in a circus mirror. The other most obvious change is the presence of orthodoxy - or something like it - is the title of the strobing alt-banger Who Loves You, a question or an answer, or perhaps both?

The same kind of indecision, of ambiguity, could be said of Love Songs: Two as a title. But we still have much thank Archie Fairhurst for, both then and now. His world continues to feature much more than superficially meets the eye, textures and depths that are new and illusory. A show of devotion like a box of chocolates, you won't care about what you're going to get next.

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