Benjamin Clementine - 'And I Have Been'

8/10

After winning the Mercury Prize for his breakthrough 2015 debut LP 'At Least For Now', Benjamin Clementine went from a bright and compelling upstart to one of the most in-demand new artists of that year. His distinctly haunted approach to both his songwriting and production gave him an instantly definable direction, and allowed him plenty of creative freedom when he followed it up with his highly-praised sophomore offering 'I Tell A Fly' in 2017. But with five years away from his music, he is looking to venture onto a new path with his third studio album 'And I Have Been', a record that he has already hinted marks the beginning of his end within music.

Now signed to his own Preserve Artists label, Clementine feels far more as ease and unabated throughout this new collection. Allowing himself to try and experiment with new and interesting ideals has made 'And I Have Been' one of his most captivating bodies of material to date. While still honing his dark and atmospheric intentions throughout, there are plenty of moments that see him embark on a more carefree and jubilant aesthetic, giving this release a far more multifaceted feel from start to finish, and allowing both himself and ourselves the chance to see him in a more adventurous light.

While there is already news of a companion full-length arriving next year, a record that could very well be his last for a long time, Benjamin Clementine is clearly still laser-focused on his rich and inviting sound. 'And I Have Been' may have been a longer wait than many would have wanted, but it is certainly worth it.

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