A Lesson Unlearnt is an album of thrilling contradictions: it’s dark, yet danceable; incendiary yet smooth; disturbed yet sexy. In many ways it evokes the feel of another synth-sensitive artist, The Weeknd, but its force and energy stops it from being nothing but more of what has come before.
Album opener The Other Ones (Intro) sets the tone for the proceedings, and although short (it clocks in at just over a minute) it nonetheless has a beguiling, exotic charm all of its own. The brains behind Until The Ribbon Breaks, Peter Lawrie Winfield, has a knack for creating tunes that are polished but intoxicatingly dangerous, ensuring that songs like Orca, Romeo and Spark remain subtle and slick without ever being weightless.
Persia is a beautiful trip that sits at the crossroads between the erotic and the dangerous. It could easily be the soundtrack for a film by David Lynch – it contains just the right amounts of fluid beauty and the constant threat of more unseemly elements. Perspective, featuring Homeboy Sandman, is the strongest track on the album lyrically, boasting impressively quirky imagery.’
Not that the album is entirely successful – every now and then Winfield takes an odd detour, and the beautifully constructed mood is shattered. Revolution Indifference, a track that features Run the Jewels, isn’t a bad song by any stretch of the imagination – it’s just an odd, shocking change of tone that never gels with the rest of the album. The same can be said of A Taste Of Silver, the opening guitar solo of which cuts a hole straight through the impressive veil of heartbreak, lust and loneliness that hovers over the rest of A Lesson Unlearnt.
But these minor problems are not enough to detract from an exceedingly impressive album. Pressure and Goldfish are the two stand-out tracks from the record – both beautifully damaged, they have a unique power that is almost hypnotic in its intensity. The fact that songs this good are appearing on a musician’s debut album bodes very well for Winfield’s future. In fact, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before Winfield’s popularity goes into supernova – 2015 could easily be the year of Until The Ribbon Breaks.
A Lesson Unlearnt is music best suited for a listen in the middle of the night, or upon returning home from a party: in essence, whenever you’re at your most vulnerable is when this intelligent, skilful record will work its magic.