First off, check this brand new Portishead track out today. It’s called “Chase The Tear”, it’s being released to support Amnesty International, and it’s right up there with anything on “Third”, if our first listens are anything to go by.

First off, check this brand new Portishead track out today. It’s called “Chase The Tear”, it’s being released to support Amnesty International, and it’s right up there with anything on “Third”, if our first listens are anything to go by.

Second, a bit of advance warning that I’ll start rolling out a Wild Mercury Sound Best Of 2009 next week; I think I can stretch to a 100 good albums this year, all being well.

Finally, today’s main business: the fifth Four Tet album, “There Is Love In You”. Kieran Hebden hasn’t put out a solo album in four years, mostly concerning himself with improv collaborations with Steve Reid, plus one EP, “Ringer”, that diverted his energies into a relatively minimal strain of techno.

“There Is Love In You”, however, is firmly in the traditional Four Tet camp: lightly-deployed loops which gradually accumulate density and pace (a couple of tracks are even called “Circling” and “This Unfolds”, descriptively); limber drum science; subtle acoustic trim (a harp on “Circling”, a kora, possibly, at the end of “Love Cry”, the odd xylophone and chime), which once attracted the much-loved ‘folktronica’ tag.

All of this, plainly, makes “There Is Love In You” palpable kin to “Pause” and “Rounds”. It’s another of Hebden’s substantial gifts, however, that his voracious appetite for music is coupled with an ability to absorb a great range of stuff and process it into his own shape. Consequently, plenty here feels imprecisely comtemporary, but simultaneously typical of Four Tet.

“Sing”, then, feels a bit like a precious, exotic treatment of a springy dubstep track, while “Plastic People” (named after the club, maybe; I certainly saw him play or DJ there years ago) sets off at a similar clip, before Hebden gracefully piles on the augmentations and intricate little melodies.

A few female vocals mark something of a departure on certain tracks, not least the airy openers, “Angel Echoes” and the superb nine-minute “Love Cry”, perhaps the highlights of this immensely pretty and engaging album. There are also some Reichian flutters and a bit of discreet glitch, not untypically. But it’s two guitar-led (bass-led, perhaps? Not always sure) tracks that also stand out.

“This Unfolds” places a pensive guitar figure over sluggish hip-hop beats and lovely electronic trim, and is as close to Fridge as I can remember any Four Tet track to be. The closing “She Just Likes To Fight”, meanwhile, is a luminous, orbiting piece that’s very much kin to “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” by Hebden’s old touring mates, Radiohead. In a different time, I’d almost be tempted to call it post-rock…