‘Ahh yeah Jamie xx! He’s that..music..guy..in a band? Was in a band? Remixer? Producer?’ Well all of those things, but it’s hard to definitively distinguish the brains behind The xx‘s true calling, be it as the mastermind behind a modern-day trip-hop band, or as a beat maker, or as a notable solo producer. Either way, one of electronic music’s most elusive characters finally comes forth with his much-anticipated debut album- In Colour.
In Colour has a lot going on, but this is a really good thing. Tracks such as the excellent Loud Places and Obvz start with delicate rhythms provided by a steel pan on the latter, which then explode into powerful, onslaughts of feel-good anthemic electronica. The choruses of vocals on both songs build and build against the fairly dainty production which along with infectious claps, lead to some excellent tracks. The vocals particularly reminisce those found on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of The xx, and I first began my sample of In Colour with an eyebrow raised in scepticism. Having previously delved into Jamie xx’s solo career, I often found his material missing that something, and just falling short of the mark. However, In Colour is not like that. From the reggae/dancehall inspired, Young Thug-Popcaan-featuring Good Times, to the Disclosure-nodding Sleep Sound, to the incredibly layered and and patient Rest Is Noise, Jamie xx seamlessly tackles an array of fairly distant sounds.
As I covered in the opening paragraph of this review, it’s hard to give a definitive label to Jamie xx and what exactly it is that he does best, and his debut album doesn’t make that job any easier. In Colour is a mass of sounds and inspirations ranging from trip hop to deep house, and while from a outsider’s point of view this may seem scattered and maybe too crowded, especially for a debut, I must say each genre is tackled with ease. Jamie xx is an accomplished musician, stamping his names on tracks by Drake, and providing numerous well-received remixes from the likes of Florence and The Machine and Adele, the final piece left of the puzzle was a full-length project, with In Colour, Jamie xx can check that box too.
Verdict – WWWWV
Like this review? To keep up to date with The West Review, head to our Twitter page.