One reasonable reaction to Glass Swords, Rustie's debut album, was that the young Scottish producer could have dialed it down a bit. Obstinately complex and lurid, none of its tracks seemed to be made with any desire to be taken as tasteful. For his second album, also released on Warp, Rustie indeed slows it down a bit and peels away some layers, but he does so without making any concessions to politeness. Most of these tracks breathe more, due in part to allow room for grime great D Double E, tense duo Gorgeous Children, and a typically foul-mouthed Danny Brown, whose 2013 album Old included a trio of Rustie beats. Dynamic instrumental cuts like "Raptor," "Paradise Stone," and "Tempest," like much of Glass Swords, evoke colorful video game landscapes but are crafted with a little more finesse. The last third displays a softer touch, though it's just as nutty in places. "Lost," for instance, is an oddball Zapp-meets-Basement Jaxx talkbox ballad fronted by a comically self-critical Redinho. The top highlight, the bursting/gleaming "Dream On," plays it relatively straight with a surprisingly harmonious spotlight for R&B singer Muhsinah (known most for her contributions to the Foreign Exchange's Leave It All Behind). The album concludes with two of Rustie's er, prettier tracks yet: "Lets Spiral," which flutters and stammers, and the title track, all lolling mallets and nature sounds.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman