Anyone going into the listening of the fifth album from British
abstract beat composer Stephen “Bibio” Wilkinson under the assumption that it’s
going to sound like anything he has done previously will need to check those
expectations at the door. Wilkinson eschews the John Martyn-meets-Boards of Canada
trip of such earlier works as Fi and Vignetting The Compost in favor of a
more cohesive pop playground that builds off the Dilla-informed momentum of
2009’s Ambivalence Avenue.
While vocals have been prevalent on past works, nearly every track on Mind Bokeh features Wilkinson singing,
and in a myriad of styles to boot, from the sexed-up glitch soul of “Anything
New” to the Malian-tinged “St. Christopher” to “Take Off Your Shirt”, an
all-out late ‘70s styled rocker in the spirit of Phil Lynott. It is a deft
change of direction that might throw you for a loop at first, especially if you
were hoping for another round of Bibio’s hazy folk-hop malaise. But if you give
it time, you’ll certainly find it to be one that grows on you.
DOWNLOAD: “Anything New”,
“Take Off Your Shirt” RON HART