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Album-Review: Benjamin Clementine – And I Have Been

Mercury Prize winner Benjamin Clementine returns with his third studio album.

Benjamin Clementine has a fascinating background. Moving to Paris, Benjamin Clementine experienced homelessness and made street music. It was in this time that he was discovered by an agent and found his way into the music business. His debut album earned him the Mercury Prize in 2015 and in 2017, he was featured in the Gorillaz song Hallelujah Money from which I know him.
Clementine's recently released third studio album And I Have Been marks the start of an album trilogy. And I Have Been will be the most laid-back of the three. It shows in the album's sparse instrumentation strongly influenced by baroque tropes such as filigrane strings and piano. The album also includes trumpet, organ, percussions and an array of backing vocalists crafting a beautiful, almost classical musical landscape. It fits Clementine's voice perfectly as both the instrumentations and his vocals are of a certain extravagance and elegance. What And I Have Been lacks is clear standout moments and tension though. The album has an airy but non-ethereal quality and rarely gets more visceral. Also, the songs are quite short. As a consequence, the album never really takes off. Clementine accomplishes what he aims for though: an emotional response and anticipation for the upcoming two projects that will complete his trilogy.

7 / 10

  1. Residue | 75
  2. Delighted | 80
  3. Difference | 85
  4. Genesis | 85
  5. Gypsy, BC | 70
  6. Atonement | 80
  7. Last Movement of Hope | 85
  8. Copening | 75
  9. Weakend | 70
  10. Auxiliary | 80
  11. Lovelustreman | 75
  12. Recommence | 75