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LV & Joshua Idehen – Routes review

As any Londoner will be only too aware of, travel is central to living in this great metropolis. We’re wrapped up in a tangle of tube routes, bus routes, rail lines, flight pathways, cycle lanes and roads. So it is all the more fitting that London trio LV team up with Joshua Idehen and release their long player on Martin Clark’s Keysound label, with its LDN catalogue numbers, and prescribe it with the title Routes. Navigating us through the post-dubstep landscape, LV build on their past releases on Hyperdub – “Globetrotting” (2007), “CCTV” (2008), “Hylo” and “Boomslang” (2010) – and take us deeper into London’s collective consciousness than ever before.

Starting the journey with UKF-meets-garage style “I Know”, with its caressing beats, tinkling SFX and lilting rhythms, we are taken through the more meditative, reverberating soundscape of “Tough” to “Northern Line”. This track epitomizes the sentiment of the album, with its cheeky, chopped up, stretched and rough street poet lyrics urging “Get on the Northern Line…What you know about Bank?…What you know about Angel?….You get girls in Kings Cross…What you know about Old Street?….Morden, Modern, High Barnet…”

Elsewhere, “Talk Talk” sits resplendent in synth washes, peppered with vocal snippets in a quasi-footwork style. Tracks like “Past Tense” and “Deleted Scene” really strip things back to the bone, stark and sultry in tone, they ponder on the moment poignantly before moving onwards, ever onwards. “Murkish Delights” is another resounding highlight from the LP, with its brooding, spine-tingling intro, we are lulled into a false sense of security, before Joshua Idehen’s voice interrupts the calm with another social commentary on 21st century life in Hackney. Concluding the album is the melancholy malaise of Burial-like crackling “Last Night” which simmers away and concludes the 12-track package beautifully. Taking us across the wide and vivid modern musical landscape, LV and Joshua Idehden together succeed in building a new route of their own and trust us, it’s worth the ride.

Belinda Rowse