Zomby throws the rulebook out of the window for an intriguing but frustratingly drawn out third record that will manage to alienate and fascinate you all at the same time.

Listening to With Love is by no means an easy task. A two-disc journey that skitters, skips and jumps from one track to the next with complete disregard for the listener, Zomby creates an interesting if slightly difficult to keep up with pace for this album.

Once you wrap your head around the lack of formal structure you would expect from a record, there is some fascinating stuff to be found on this album. Drawing inspiration from all across the bass music spectrum, elements of jungle, grime, even DnB all make a distinctive sonic stamp across the majority of With Love. It occasionally feels like giant jigsaw puzzle of sounds that fit together, albeit in a very strange way.

At 33 tracks long, Zomby has ostensibly divided the tracks across the discs into positive and uplifting (disc one) and mournful and reflective (disc two) but these are incredibly interchangeable posts for a record like this. Occasionally, for every great track, like ‘Memories’ or ‘Overdose’, the latter of which rattles and spits with the unrestrained energy a DnB bass line should, there are a handful that sound like reckless abandonment for the sake of it rather than for any discernable purpose. Whether they add to or subtract from the experience seems to be something Zomby has left largely up to us.

Disc two is where a lot of the best material can be found. ‘White Smoke’ possesses an almost tangible melancholia, while title track ‘With Love’ closes things off in an appropriately dark, sparse and mysterious tone that, unsurprisingly, doesn’t seem to convey much love at all.

3.5/5 stars


With Love is out now through 4AD.

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