The Lateness of the Hour (2011) was British musician and singer/songwriter Alex Clare's first album release reaching no.17 on the UK album charts, certified gold. Initially, the album didn't do so great leading to Clare's label to drop him as an artist, before he was approached to use 'Too Close' in an advert, where sales started to peak after people were hearing his music.
The lateness of the Hour is a drum and bass/electronic kind of album with a soulful set of vocals to accompany tracks written by Clare and produced with Diplo and Switch.
This album is focused on enticing bass-lines and guitar riffs as well as background piano pieces to keep us wanting more during the slower parts of each song. The fact that a soul voice fits in so nicely against dub/electro tracks is fascinating and you simply cant forget how incredible this album is.
My favourite song on this album is probably 'Sanctuary', Clare's ability to add a choir to start off a slowed down drum and bass track is astonishing and features no less than you'd expect, a big voice accompanied by sweet piano and high raspy notes before a dubstep like backing track kicks in and is perfect altogether. Sanctuary is what I would consider one of the most challenging out of the album to sing from the variety of different notes Clare's voice can belt out and I've heard nothing like it, the lyrics to this song are well written not to mention the instrumental/vocal mix gives listeners a little bit of everything in a single song. Amazing.
Another great factor about this album is Alex Clare's own cover of Prince's 'When Doves Cry'. Prince is an incredible musician and when I found out Clare did his own version of this song I honestly thought it was going to be terrible, how many actually decent covers and 'own versions' of Prince's songs are there out there really? Other than Quindon Tarver's version, featured in Romeo & Juliet, I've heard barely any. So hearing Clare's version really blew me away, it was outstanding and so different, his own version of the song yet still putting the same kind of passion in that Prince would give.
I'm not particularly a big fan of 'Hands Are Clever' it's probably the most pop genre song out of the entire album plus the fact I'd much rather hear the entire song sung by Alex Clare himself rather than an episode of people who don't quite fit in with Clare's voice, the start of this song feels very jumbled and rushed to put together, adding a little too much when it doesn't need it, it sounds like there's people talking in the background of some of the instrumental parts as well which I didn't like and felt made the song seem way too messy when finalised.
I did enjoy this album and it helped me focus during many hours of paperwork. I listen to it all the time and rate it 4/5 stars. I think it goes to say Alex Clare is incredibly talented as you can see yourself by hearing his acoustic renditions of his own music which really show off the ranges of his voice as well as his feature in Rudimentals 'Not Giving In' also featuring pop singer songwriter John Newman. I'm looking forward to hearing what else Clare does in the future.
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