There are moments where death wins out, like in "Tomb," or the devastating "Bones" ("It was there we placed your bones / And I couldn't bear it, 'cause it wasn't you"). Some tracks end with a strange pitched-down coda—the pop song equivalent of a death rattle—and the album's flow is broken by interludes like "Searc," in which Amos Childs' sample-led productions drift into a netherworld of crackle and hiss. These moments recall the bleak sounds of his two other Young Echo groups, Killing Sound and O$VMV$M.
But the album's best tracks are full of life. Some past Jabu records have been spoken-word—Rendall always considered it hip-hop—but here he sings in a tense blue-eyed tenor that matches the music's discomfort. And a few tweaks to Childs' minimalist beats can give them a poppy verse-chorus sweep. In bittersweet opener "Let Me Know," a halting bassline and harmonies from second singer Jasmine Butt do the trick. In "Get To You," it's inky synth strings.
These tracks, the album's most memorable, come in the first half. Later things get foggier. More of Butt's glimmering harmonies might have leavened the mood ("Lay You Down" is her only chance to shine). The one glimmer of hope is dub pop ballad "Which Way," and it's placed a few tracks before the end. The final word comes instead from "Give," a ghoulish lament addressed to an unnamed lover. "Catch me, I'm falling for you," Rendall sings. In this context it doesn't sound like a pleasant fall so much as a slow descent into the cold ground.