Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Kae Tempest Returns With Stirring New Single ‘More Pressure’ Featuring Kevin Abstract

On ‘More Pressure’, Kae Tempest teams up with Kevin Abstract to deliver a frenzied and strangely uplifting song. The first release from their upcoming 4th album ‘The Line Is A Curve’, ‘More Pressure' suggests that the Mercury-nominated artist will continue to make fantastic music. 

Where much of Tempest's earlier work lends itself more to solitary introspection, the restless synths of this song make for an up-tempo track with a dance-away-the-pain feeling not a million miles away from dance-pop juggernaut Robyn.

That said, ‘More Pressure’ still centres Kae Tempest’s ability to deftly blur the lines between poetry, rap and spoken word. Their lyrics are cathartic and vulnerable, the chanting bars portraying a person in search of clarity (More intuition / More connection / More nature / More protection). The song weaves misplaced hedonism (Chin deep in a bag of white lies / Saying I'm sick and tired of my own advice) and subsequent feelings of helplessness (Less push / More flow / Please, let me let go) but ultimately the tone is hopeful in the face of all life's pressures, with Tempest's optimistic vocals floating above the final chorus. 

In less accomplished hands, Kevin Abstract’s glamorous Texan cadence might sit jarringly alongside Kae’s more matter-of-fact delivery. But with Rick Rubin handling production, the BROCKHAMPTON rapper’s verse adds a new dimension to the song while still falling in line lyrically with the theme of a frantic need for a release under the stresses of life.  

This is a motif confirmed by Kae Tempest, who has described the song as a way to "reframe some of the stresses that we find ourselves under as possibilities for new growth…a new level of energy can come from huge amounts of pressure". If this song is the result of said pressure, then long may it continue. 

James Ellis
Image: ‘More Pressure’ Official Single Cover

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