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LIVE: Mount Kimbie - The Ritz, Manchester

After the release of their third LP ‘Love What Survives’ a few weeks back, Mount Kimbie are on the road again, hitting venues bigger than ever have before.

This Friday night they will take over the iconic surroundings of Camden’s Roundhouse, but Far Out was lucky enough to catch an intriguing tour opener at Manchester Ritz.

The last time we saw the duo they had just released the follow-up to their infectious debut Crooks & Lovers, a record that announced them on the scene as dextrous moulders of post-dubstep electronica – splicing together infectious vocal samples and throbbing basslines.

Seven years later, however, the project has evolved into something very different. Mount Kimbie now perform as a four-piece band, with live drums and bass guitar anchoring every track. Even more encapsulating, is the way in which core members Dom Maker and Kai Campos freely switch between various instruments and share vocal duties, with new addition Andrea Balency also stepping up to sing on a couple of numbers.

The new album features vocal collaborations with the likes of King Krule (again), James Blake and Micachu. Such distinctive contributors being absent on the live stage may perhaps take the edge of for a few, but the sprawling live instrumentation that seems to switch from house to krautrock in a heartbeat offers more than enough compensation.

A huge marker in the development of the live show is also that Mount Kimbie have even now dropped what was arguably their biggest crowd-pleaser first time round ‘Carbonated’ from the set.

‘You Took Your Time’ (another past collaboration with King Krule) is played out as an intrumental, before ‘Blue Train Lines’ brings the set to a hypnotic close.

The lights stay dimmed, however, and the LED panels that have beamed visuals from behind the band throughout the night start to flicker again as they return for an encore. They bow out with a guaranteed crescendo in the shape of the anthem ‘Made to Stray’, the lead single from 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth which was perhaps the first indication of Mount Kimbie’s undeniable evolution.

For those who fell head over heels for Crooks & Lovers, the resulting departure may not have been completely what they had in mind when they proclaimed Mount Kimbie their new favourite band. However, any artist that keeps their audience guessing in these times of sanitised mainstream culture must be celebrated.

Patrick Davies