[Originally posted on Instagram on June 15, 2019]

While I am currently not familiar with Kate Tempest's handful of award winning poetry books or her novel (Though at some point in the future this will change) I have adored her music for years. Always credited as a "spoken word/rap artist" her first couple albums are pretty clearly rap albums. The first, Everybody Down, was a story of two people with different lives that meet and try to form and hold together a relationship. Her next, Let Them Eat Chaos, was a series of character sketches with each song focusing on a different person in a group of strangers that all live on the same block, with the album building up to a shared experience between them all.

THE BOOK OF TRAPS AND LESSONS is mesmerizing. It's not a rap album, it's a spoken word album, with each song flowing into the next seamlessly, almost secretively. The music she talks over, also, is often understated and ever changing (Sometimes softly disappearing all together and Kate speaks to you, and only you, for a few minutes with nothing at all but her voice). "I Trap You" has an almost old timey feel to it, "Brown Eyed Man" is tense and somber, "Firesmoke" is groovy and laid back, and "Holy Elixir" is pulsing and exciting and almost futuristic.

Lyrically, it's an interesting evolution of her past musical work. Still she writes small stories about everyday people, highlighting the troubles and triumphs that are there but others would overlook. But mixed with those in, once more, a very secretive way are essays on the immense bleakness of modern life, politics, friendships, relationships, etc. And, like she has been doing for years now, she explores these topics and feelings in a way unlike anyone else could ever.

"Hold Your Own", "Keep Moving Don't Move", "Lessons" and "People's Faces" are gut punchers.

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