Certainly, whether with Hype Williams or on his own solo work, Blunt's sound follows no template. On The Redeemer, his connection to the world of electronic music is more tenuous than ever—its often miniature tracks employ strings, harps, lethargic rhythms and lacy flourishes of piano, accordions and guitar. It all feels very theatrical. These are assemblages, rather than organic pieces. And yet, paradoxically, the subject matter, concerning love and loss and ended relationships, is emotionally bruised. Blunt is painfully and genuinely opening his heart. "Happy we can still be friends," he sings, in slightly concussed tones, on "The Pedigree."
On "Demon," Joanne Robertson interrogates Blunt like a robot ("What you did was wrong... wrong"). A feeling of disconnectedness persists on "V," which samples an answering machine message that leaves a question to Blunt hanging in the air. Inga Copeland contributes to the title track, on which Blunt references the "wake up, wake up" refrain from Bobby Womack's "Get A Life," before the bullhorn-like Voice Of Your Conscience abruptly shouts in his ear, "It's all fucked up now! Huh?"
"You bring out the best in me," Blunt croons on "Papi," whose arrangement is all hearts and flowers, its off-kilter tinkling interrupted by the sound of indifferent party people counting in the chimes of Big Ben and the New Year. Such interventions, like the coughing fit that concludes "Brutal," are vital in the fabric of The Redeemer, which feels part art installation, part cri de coeur, but all true—further reason to believe the Hype.