Young Turks/Remote Control
In Colour is an amazing album. This speckled musical jewel finds the sweet spot between Jamie Smith’s work as arguably the world’s coolest DJ and his work as a member and producer for The xx.
On track two, Sleep Sound, it sounds like Smith has cherry-picked the best parts of the underground club world and distilled them into four minutes. It’s a deeply tonal song, featuring marimba and kettle drum sounds, as well as heavily phased vocals. It’s supported by a deep down-tempo break-beat, which is peppered with sprawling drum fills. While Sleep Sound is essentially underground, In Colour’s lead single Loud Places (featuring The xx vocalist Romy Madley-Croft) is a stunning celebration of pop sensibilities. A cheeky cowbell, or half full jar of water, tinkers over the top of deep piano chords as Croft’s breathy voice intones the phrases of the verse. The melancholy aesthetic then gives way to a seriously uplifting chorus; Madley-Croft’s voice fades as a choir of male tenors takes the lead, contending, ‘I have never reached such heights / I feel music in your eyes / I have never reached such heights’.
The xx’s other vocalist, the richly casual Oliver Sim, makes an appearance on the brooding electro-ballad Stranger In A Room, which is almost completely driven by the ebbs and flow of his vocal line. The icy guitars that accent the melody are a throwback 2011’s We’re New Here; Smith’s seminal remix album of spoken word legend Gil Scott Heron.
There’s little to fault about In Colour. The musicality is so strong that the album could well evade the tendency for exceedingly trendy albums to date within two to three years of their release.