Search The Line of Best Fit
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Kevin Abstract’s Blanket reveals the vice of constant reinvention


Release date: 03 November 2023
Kevin Abstract Blanket cover
03 November 2023, 09:00 Written by Noah Barker

No matter the cost, Kevin Abstract will always be ahead of his time.

For the last 5 years, indie-rap and pop-rap have been inextricably entwined with his DNA, as the now defunct boyband Brockhampton set standards for quality release schedules throughout tumultuous lineups and allegations; now, he’s only 10 years ahead of schedule for a mid-life crisis rock outing. Each of the 13 tracks on the record pulls their instrumentation from the bland, corporate-grey indie-ether, painting even over the tracks that had an initial charm with needless repetition and a lack of payoff. Make no mistake, this is no spawn of rock Hades like Speedin’ Bullet to Heaven, but it is Kevin’s.

An artist in constant flux, Abstract has inadvertently discovered the vice most artists unveil early on in their careers when shirking off the style of last year’s model: without inspiration, genre can become a mood board. The near-complete lack of instrumental variety or satisfying song structure across the record leaves Abstract’s seeming vision of indie rock as boilerplate as they come, defined by chord progressions so uniform in style that they’d be grouped together on an episode of Finding Your Roots. “Running Out” sputters away with little in the way of progression as it reintroduces its chorus the same as it was mere moments ago, as if it had forgotten that it Control+V’d the section already.

Beyond the lack of studied instrumentation or creative aspirations beyond the missed dart at the dartboard of ‘vibe,’ Abstract may very well be completely absent from the recording; intense vocal effects mask his presence on every track, ensuring the listener is held at a consistent arms length. What was once his greatest innovation, the animated usage of autotune in all of its facets, has now become an emotional fence, needlessly kept back yet still able to see directly through. This is further shot in the foot by vocal performances oddly concerned with nasality and casting out as many inflections as the time allots for (see “Madonna” for further review).

The stories he attempts to weave into each track mistake frankness for plainness, venting with both the vagueness and the strange specificity of an Instagram story stating, “Only the real ones will know.” It isn’t until the wildly surprising inclusion of MJ Lenderman on the final track that the slacker heart Abstract may have been pining for unfurls. Still, a moment of recontextualization does not a record make; it can buy understanding, but that’s all it will ever have. Blanket is the mark of a restless artist unable to afford the time to care like he used to; attempting a moment of multitude and homogenizing the results into auditory mush. Abstract is forever unchanging, forever young and willing to make his own mistakes. It’s why he’s an artist.

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