‘Tides’ is ambient in the same way as a water feature in a garden: soothing at a glance, but ultimately boring.
Bristol producer Phaeleh has always made post-club comedown music. His biggest tracks to date – 2010’s ‘Fallen Light’ and 2011’s ‘The Cold In You’ (both from albums of the same name) – were relaxed yet sparky night-bus shuffles. But now, two years since his last album, it seems that Matt Preston is just making beats to sit at home to. ‘Tides’ is music for chatting over: a pleasant but predictable mixture of cold beats, wishy-washy strings and guest vocalists. Long-term collaborator Soundmouse and Irish singer Cian Finn breathe dull things like “Here comes the sun/It shines on me, it shines on you” (on ‘Here Comes The Sun’) and “Under the stars’ light, guide me home” (‘Night Lights’) like it’s 2004 and they’re angling for a guest spot on a Zero 7 album. ‘Storm’, featuring vocalist Jess Mills, is darker and sharper, but it’s an anomaly and doesn’t set the tone. ‘Tides’ is ambient in the same way as a water feature in a garden: soothing at a glance, but ultimately boring.