Kae Tempest’s ‘More Pressure’ is brimming with explosive energy

Kae Tempest has cemented their status as one of this generation’s most thought-provoking artists. All of that intensity is channelled into More Pressure, their new single.

Kae Tempest revels in many disciplines, including poetry, music, plays, and writing. The connective tissue between these art forms is language itself — and in their fresh single, More Pressure, listeners are greeted dazzlingly display of wordcraft.

Teaming up with long time producer Dan Carey, the beat has a sizzle to match the verbal onslaught, underpinning the verses from Tempest and featured rapper Kevin Abstract of Brockhampton fame.

Kae Tempest
Photo: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

The ambiguous mood More Pressure creates is also a feature. Launching into an irresistible groove that’s almost at a disco tempo, an unmistakable club vibe is laid down from the beginning. But it’s paired with an undulating synth rhythm that uneasily cycles between two chords, drawing you into an unsettled atmosphere.

The primary focus, however, is on the delivery of Tempest. The vocal hits you with its unabashed intimacy, residing in that musical/spoken-word limbo in which Tempest is a virtuoso. “I know nothing, I used to think, things were so clear,” Tempest intones in a rhythm that lends stress and weight to the words in such idiosyncratic ways that it can’t belong to anyone else.

A heavy and spacious bass line joins proceedings, coupling with the increased intensity of Tempest’s flow, before peaking and dropping into an abyss: the perfect setting Kevin Abstract to enter. His flow is choppier than Tempest’s, his lines delivered in rapid-fire rhythmic combos like a boxer.

More Pressure is a tantalising taste of things to come on Tempest’s fourth album, The Line Is A Curve (out April 8 via Virgin Music Australia). Pre-save the album here and check out the mesmerising lyric video below: