Review of Patience Album by The Invisible

Like many other musical byways, dance music tends to have a pervasive, almost fetishistic, obsession with its own past. Nailing down the reasons why is as difficult - and futile - as with most attempts to dredge popular culture, but this fascination seems more accentuated than most given it's a genre driven by A) Technology and B) The environment it's consumed in and C) The substances the listener is under the influences of whilst in B).

The Invisible Patience Album

Equally The Invisible couldn't have come up with a more apt name for themselves if they tried. A trio from London which formed a decade ago, they've reversed the usual process of being session musicians before they coalesced into something real, instead jobbing since, with singer/guitarist Dave Okumu amongst others Paloma Faith, Jessie Ware and Anna Calvi, whilst drummer Leo Taylor beat the skins on Adele's 21 album and former Acoustic Ladyland guitarist Tom Herbert plays in experimental jazz outfit Polar Bear.

Much has happened since the release of the band's acclaimed second album Rispah in 2012; Okumu was nearly electrocuted performing in Lagos - saved only by Herbert's intervention - and wrote much of Patience's material whilst ensconced in the LA beat scene, whilst collectively the trio have they say "Gained a deeper understanding of the value of life" in the time that's passed.

Thus joyously informed and with a clutch of high-ish profile co-workers, this third instalment quickly reveals itself as neither difficult nor trapped by its own promises of philanthropy. Occasionally informed by a brand of lucid West Coast funk anglicised in recent years by the likes of Hot Chip and Metronomy, it's hardly a sermon, but opener So Well is full of sunset warmth and diaphanous melodies, Ware lending a suitably cultivated vocal.

Having taken to centre stage with assured but almost dainty steps, the threesome then move through the gears with ease, stepping it up to bludgeon us with So Well's finger-snapping vibe and r&b shifts, whilst Best of Me re-imagines the ass-grabbing disco of Barry White but strips off its extraneous gloss, leaving just the lust beneath the sheets.

It's hard on the one hand to see how the studied effortlessness of Rispah has been so ably transformed into this more primal soup, but Okumu and Rosie Lowe face off on Different as if under orders from a higher power, the jutting synth stabs and rippling guitar chop carved out by instinct, whilst the retro-pomp of Love Me Again features Anna Calvi in a hipster-baiting straight role which should have all the right people frothing with indignation.

From this point the gyration becomes contemplation: closer K Town Sunset's woozy outward groove is more indebted to the broken pads and comedowns of The Weeknd, Believe In Yourself is as downtempo and insecure as its title suggests and Memories finds Okuma chastened, "Making sense of it all..all alone", the lascivious groove dropped and replaced with pulses, the sort of almost DIY beats which declare trickery and automation to be all part of the plot.

Such is the game when you play with love or live closer to the ribbon of emotion above the constraints of intellect; the highs are higher, the lows troughs from which it can seem like there's no return. The Invisible have gone back to much of electronic music's essence for Patience, a quality which is as much on the path to enlightenment as intuition. Taking the past at face value, they've managed to create a vivid, time-hopping collage that has just the right amount of respect for it and for us.

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