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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Jamie xx showcases range with In Colour


Some people are sponges. They soak up everything in life, quietly observing and internalizing every experience and every idea. Sponges are interesting, and so is Jamie xx. With his long anticipated debut solo album In Colour, Jamie xx proves his merit as a musical sponge.

Famous for his work with the English indie-darling band The xx, Jamie Smith has gained respect for his work as a chameleon-esque music producer. Those tendencies shine through his new album, In Colour, which blends together 11 tracks of various musical genres and elements.

The first track, “Gosh,” sets the stage with its catchy and repetitive simplicity. Throughout the album, Jamie xx lulls the listener into a hypnosis, thereby making bobbing to the beat irresistible. “Gosh” sports a bare-bones total of three lyrics, but its backbone of a beat provides the deceptive catchiness that will have you randomly spouting off a nonsensical “Oh my gosh!” in a robotic British accent. Any album that has people singing out in robotic British voices is worth a listen.

The spectre of The xx makes appearances throughout the album. Band members Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim are featured on a number of songs, including stand-out track “Loud Places.” The familiar, soothing voices mix well with Jamie xx’s sonic style. Much like The xx, these songs often build massive but sparse soundscapes, each track creating a spatial sense of isolation and intimacy. That sense of outsider attentiveness fits the persona of Jamie xx. Most songs feature some sort of found sound, such as the soft murmur of a crowd that precedes “Loud Places.” Smith recorded sounds at many of the shows he attended, and these elements add to the personality of the album.

In Colour mixes together the best of Smith’s work with The xx and his knowledge of diverse musical elements, from post-rock sound wall swells, to Caribbean steel drum beats, to the hip-hop of “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” If you have been searching for a good summer song, Jamie xx has got your back. Irresistibly catchy, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” contains every element needed for a hit song. Thumping bass? Check. Catchy hook? Check. Uplifting mood? Check. Over-the-top lyrics? Double-check. Rapper Young Thug drops in for two memorable verses before the bass-infused hook sampled from The Persuasions will have you mumbling “there’s gonna be good times” for months to come. The two-track sequence of “Loud Places” and “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” showcase the massive talent and Swiss-army diversity of Jamie xx as a music producer.

It’s difficult to remember that In Colour is a debut album. The level of polish throughout speaks to Jamie xx as a music producer, and the tightly thematic tracks showcase an artist with great potential. In Colour can be succinctly summarized by the lyrics of the track “Loud Places”: “I go to loud places / To search for someone / to be quiet with,” and the chorus, “I feel music in your eyes / I have never reached such heights.” In Colour provides intimate loud places and great musical heights. 


Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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