If music has a job, at least good music, it holds a mirror up to the world. As the world gets smaller and harder to navigate, music has to give us a soundtrack for sensations we don’t even have names for. Maybe that’s where The Invisible’s new album ‘Patience’ gets its power. Never afraid of defying genres the South London trio of Dave Okumu, Leo Taylor and Tom Herbert, have constructed a third album that is layered, seductive, and above all, totally dance-worthy.
In many ways, ‘Patience’ stays true to The Invisible’s established formula. The versatile use of synths, throaty vocals, and Leo Taylor’s heartbeat drum rhythms are the kind of fare we’ve come to expect. Yet ‘Patience’ goes further than either of the previous albums. Hedonistic and sexy, it is tightly controlled but only just, like the soundtrack to a night that at any moment could fall off the rails. If Rispah, their 2012 sophomore album, was a self-confessed ‘love letter to grief’, then ‘Patience’ is a celebration of neon darkness.
Which isn’t to say that The Invisible are afraid of extending themselves into new territory and, for the first time, this album sees the band collaborating with guest vocalists. Jessie Ware, Rosie Lowe, Anna Calvi all feature, and the truly outstanding ‘K Town Sunset’ which, aside from sounding like something straight out of a Sofia Coppola movie, features Connan Mockasin.
That being said, it’s on The Invisible only tracks where the evolution of the band’s music is more clearly noticeable. Always a master of sly phrasing, Okumu offers lyrics that fluctuate between overly sincere and husky chat up, with each song on the album offering its own funky ode to the themes of obsession, hunger and salvation. Take ‘Save You’, where Okumu’s voice is laced with melancholy and tempered lust, supported by Tom Herbert’s uncompromising bass, and the lyrics morph from ‘I just want to save you’ to ‘I just want to save you for myself’.
Other stand out tracks include ‘Memories’, the love child of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ and The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ where synths allow for a sun-haze break to the pounding bass rhythm; the stripped down ‘Different’ which has more in common with funk; the anthemic ‘Believe In Yourself’, which is darkly sweet and filmic as it repeats the refrain ‘can you tell me, do you believe in yourself?’
While by no means perfect, ‘Patience’ is an ode to the life changing energy of music, and when Okumu sings ‘you will always have the best of me’ in ‘Best Of Me’ it’s impossible to say if he’s talking to a person, his audience, or the music itself. ‘Patience’ is a good album that gets even better with repeated listenings, but The Invisible have so much more they can achieve and, if this album is a sign of things to come, they definitely will.
This Invisible article was written by CJ Atkinson, a GIGsoup contributor