It is unsurprising that The xx; a band who have established themselves so profoundly within the UK music scene, and who have capitalized on their noir-pop genre, have fashioned this digressional, musical talent. For Jamie Smith, these past musical accomplishments present an unrivalled foundation for an individual musical career, and In Colour is a prime example of his ability and that prior inspiration.
There’s no doubting The xx’s huge influence on this album, (especially when Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft feature on three of the eleven songs as lead vocals), but there exists something much more to this LP. And for me, that ‘something’ resides in Jamie’s ability to literally, and metaphorically, add colour. What I mean when I say this is that beyond the minimalistic and atmospheric base, (that is plain to see in all of The xx’s songs), there exists an essence of London, the life of a full-time raver and a cockney lad, and even a quintessential R&B track. It is these aspects that infuse excitement from start to finish. This album is so carefully constructed that it allows Jamie to explore the more adventurous and unconventional side to his production, including songs like ‘Gosh’, and ‘I Know There’s Gonna be (Good Times)’, while also remaining generically ‘Jamie xx’, and achieving all, high expectations.
Throughout the album, I am graced with a sweeping sense of euphoria, a feeling that swings me back and forth, but gently like a ‘seesaw’, so as to maintain this atmospheric and tranquil foundation. And even when this foundation is not as clear, which is certainly true of ‘Gosh’ - it still remains that this introduction of a hard-hitting, pulsating beat, will eventually break down, and return to the atmospheric trademark this album seems to represent -(one that reminds me much of Orbital’s ‘Belfast’). And so when I listen through ‘In Colour’, my only reaction is to subtly smile and quietly appreciate the chilled state that it slowly hypnotizes me into. It truly is a universally approachable album, and despite its sincerely ‘airy-fairy’ tone, it never relinquishes the prestigious quality it sets out to achieve.
Words: Sam Reevey