Musings on a muse: James Blake’s ‘Overgrown’ and Lush’s ‘Breath of God’

James Blake overgrown

It’s in the ambitious idea of Blake’s Overgrown and Lush’s Breath of God, that bring thoughts of each other to mind. (And the fact that both come from the United Kingdom and are blue.) With Blake he wanted to create a neo-blues form and with Breath of God well, they wanted to capture the breath of God. Both feats are tall orders and for simply attempting I have to hand it to them. Unfortunately though, with some things it’s not just the thought that counts.

Overgrown, (the year old album by British electronic singer James Blake) the love child of the blues and dub step, needs maturing. I found Blake’s quiet yet strong silvery voice enchanting the first time I heard him croon on the track “Retrograde.” My ears didn’t understand how they could be listening to R&B, electronic, and folk music all at once, but it was intoxicating. I dove right into the rest of Blake’s album, coming up underwhelmed. There were tracks worth an honorable mention like “I am sold” and “Life round here,” but truth be told the 9 tracks surrounding “Retrograde” sound like intros building up and outros dialing down from the hit. I really wanted to like this album. It’s description and the mission Blake expressed having attempted was really cool. He wanted to present dub step in a way that wasn’t typical, he wanted to fuse it with the smooth quality of the blues and R&B.

Similarly, I had high hopes for the fragrance, Breath of God, by Lush cosmetics. Neroli, sandalwood, virginia cedar, incense, amalfi lemon, melon, rose, ylang-ylang, vetiver, grapefruit, black pepper and juniper make up the heavy note list for the four-year old fragrance. I smelled it in the spray form, but took it home as a solid. The strange combination of all those notes piqued my curiosity. A few first whiffs and I wasn’t sure if I liked it or hated it. The juniper came through the strongest against my skin as well as the melon, rose, and pepper. After a few tries wearing the solid, the good news is: I don’t hate it. Though, the tear jerking piney qualities to the notes is reminiscent of topical cough medicine and for that fact alone I really can’t get behind this one.

*Thanks for reading,


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