In Colour Album Review
Young Turks Records
Released June 2, 2015
Genre: Electronica, Post-Dubstep, House, UK Garage
Recall back to those thunderous yet controlled beats on everyone’s favorite “alternative” song era-2009 and that pretty much sums up a lot of what everyone seems to know of the quiet UK based producer known as Jamie xx. Furthermore, most people also don’t know of the creative projects he’s had brewing on the sidelines of The xx, the indie pop group he’s known to be a part of. Jamie xx’s debut solo record In Colour is a kaleidoscopic vision of the UK producer’s personality, trademark production, and all around admirable muscianship operating under the umbrella genre of electronic music. Brought into the fold are post-dubstep, UK Garage, and Electronica influences, keeping this debut excitingly varied. In Colour is a culmination of Jamie xx’s work in the past six years, all packed into one glittering, expansive, and satisfying debut.
Known mostly for a “pop” sound present in The xx’s recordings, Jamie xx’s music is incredibly eccentric ranging from jambled, sample-heavy soundscapes to club-blues remixes that end up being sampled in a Drake song. The mouthful of that previous sentence should give an indication as to what to expect when Jamie xx packs all these novel ideas into a single package. Starting off with the heavy beat-centric “Gosh”, the album kicks off strong with some excellent sampling and production as the samples build upon each other and loop ’till the beat beckons you to dance like no other.
Fellow xx bandmate Romy Madley Croft (the woman behind the dismal, innocent vocals and reverberated guitar leads) hops onto a couple tracks here, the shining star being “SeeSaw” which finds fellow electronic wonder-head Four Tet on co-production duty, who polishes most of the track’s elements. The track keeps the album pacing greatly, with a slow but steady transformative journey beginning with the music. xx bassist Oliver Sim appears on “Stranger In A Room”,which gives the moody track (that can easily be an xx deep cut) an introspective vibe that can accompany those long, contemplative nights we may have.
Perhaps the most surprising, and satisfying, guest spots on here go to Popcaan and Young Thug on the The Persuasions sampled “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”. First off, mashing together the gibbering vocalist behind 2014’s hottest club banger with one of the most left-field producers of the music scene would seem a bit odd at first, but believe me the result is more than satisfying, it’s novel. Beginning with a 70s era doo-wop the track quickly switches gear, transforming into a minimal, “ignant” rap farce that’s just too hard to dislike. When Jamie xx mixes the original chorus and then overlays it with Young Thug’s distinguishable hook, the song becomes an instant favorite as the two styles – while different – become one.
At this point it’s evident how wonderfully strange this album is as it shows different colors, textures, vibes, emotions, and personalities all under an hour. From trip hop to UK garage to R&B to electronica to ballads to on-the-floor bangers, In Colour has it all. The album may seem unapproachable and, at times it can seem a bit high brow, but In Colour succeeds in what it spends a majority of its time doing: converging different tastes. In the deep recesses of the abysmal atmosphere on these tracks, Jamie xx seeks shelter in the loud spaces, filling the gaps with samples, synths, and reverb formulating an album that truly shines on a pedestal six years in the making. There are moments of strength, but also moments of vulnerability; moments of excitement, and moments of sadness; moments of opportunity, and moments of regret. Imagine reevaluating your entire life in the middle of a rave: being in the moment physically, but mentally up in the air.
Doubling as a party album, In Colour focuses on what happens afterwards: when the ringing is still in your ears, when the mind is coming down from the high, when the chills come toward your arms, and when your mind is reminiscing on every moment with that “special someone you met”. The triumphant closer “Girl” can attest to this: “I want your love”; after forty-five minutes the message still echoes and throbs. When the feeling hits, get ready – this is a record that latches on, and never lets go.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Gosh, SeeSaw (feat. Romy Madley Croft, co-produced by Four Tet), Obvs, Stranger In A Room (feat. Oliver Sim), Loud Places (feat. Romy Madley Croft), “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” (feat. Popcaan and Young Thug),The Rest Is Noise, Girl
LEAST FAV TRACK: Just Saying