Dub-junkies and pop enthusiasts alike find their groove with Blake

British dub/pop artist James Blake released his self-titled debut album February 8. Ever since, he has received critical acclaim from all corners of the music world.

Originally labeled a dubstep producer, the South London native breaks out on the singer/songwriter stage with 11 tracks that serve as a proclamation of his musical talent.

His newest release is genuine, straddling the fence between The XX, Cut Copy and Discovery, with soulful vocals reminiscent of Bon Iver.

Blake’s full-length debut walks the fine line between contemporary genres of dubstep and soul, and it does so with an elegance that renders his music accessible to a wider variety of listeners than perhaps soul or dubstep separately would.

Blake avoids what opponents of dubstep dislike: that massive drop into cavernous bass patterns that tends to continue into oblivion.

He establishes an intimacy with the listener with the personal tenor of this release. The emotional conviction radiating from his piano compliments his voice as it dives in and out of electronic effects. The medley of voice, bass and keys undergoing colorful shifts in unorganized patterns will surprise the listener with its originality.

The intricate synth riffs and generous vocals combine with just enough bass to humor the dub-junkie.  

But his album also offers something often taken for granted in music: silence. Throughout the album you’ll find both sound and the lack thereof.  Blake’s creative style and confidence in his music shows in acres of quiet between verses, a stillness that leaves the listener’s ears unsure of what’s coming next.

This silence quickly becomes overused, as in a cappella track “Lindesfarne I.” Of course sometimes the silence can get a bit uncomfortable. But it is that willingness to deviate from the norm that separates this album from many other contemporary experimental releases.

Blake’s unfamiliar style adds edge to his rendition of Feist’s 2007 “Limit to Your Love.” The track, at first disconcerting, slowly grows on the listener as Blake’s mischievous disorderly structure becomes clear. Though it doesn’t top the original Feist track, it does present a noteworthy attempt.

“James Blake” offers up a variety of original tracks, each one distinct from its companion. Jumbled drumlines, overlapping synth hits and delicate piano refrains leave the listener in some ways satisfied but still hungry for more.

Recommended tracks: “I Never Learnt to Share,” “Wilhelms Scream” and “Limit to Your Love.”