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jamie xx album review

ALBUM REVIEW : Jamie xx – ‘In Colour’

This ‘Jamie xx’ review was written by Siobhan Scarlett, a GIGsoup contributor.

In many ways, the debut album ‘In Colour’ by xx producer Jamie Smith is yet another retrospective record that purposefully rearranges the music of the past – something UK artists are utilizing greatly in current music. Sampling is very in-vogue.

But ‘In Colour’ is not just another mere pop nostalgia trip. Jamie xx, is not only a sampling artist, but a memory artist. He creates sonic memory pieces with the associations he has formed in music of the past. In this sense, we are listening to his listening and hearing his hearing. ‘In Colour’ is a journey for the listener, through Jamie xx’s senses.

It might be multicolored and multi-textured 11-track homage to dance of the past, but it is also about the pleasure of being alone, enveloped in bass, in a crowded club.  It develops dance music to suit the introvert music lover looking for a deeper experience than a superficial clubbing one.

While ‘In Colour’ is far more uplifting than the xx’s works – for example the escalating bounce of Gosh, the opening track, or I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times), which features Atlantan sing-rapper Young Thug vs. Jamaican dancehall MC Popcaan – it is also one of the least ravy party albums one could imagine. It works on the fact that it juxtapositions the heady heights of 5am raving with melancholia vibes or being alone.

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Sung by Jamie’s xx bandmate Oliver Sim, the minimal Stranger in a Room is a celebration of liberating yourself from your daily constraints. “Wanna change your colours, just for the night?” sings Sim. “With no word of it following you home?” This track is interesting as it has no chorus or clear warning of an ending, but flows straight into the next track. Hold Tight begins distantly, slowly coming into focus, leaving you grasping onto each beat as it hones in.

One of Smith’s signature steel pan melodies opens a track called Obvs, but these pieces of branding are always kept beautifully minimal throughout this album, sometimes reappearing in disguise – as clinking bottles, or distant arpeggios of keyboards. These melodies are so emotive and effective at creating an ambient and enveloping world; introverts paradise.

The entire album puts you in that club, that rave or that music venue. The different bass sounds coming in and out of emphasis in the corridors, chattering in queues forming part of the soundscape but most importantly, the elated feelings of simply being there.  This is a stand out piece of work from Jamie xx, as a concept album it’s very successful.

‘In Colour’ is out now on Young Turks Recordings Ltd.

You can see ‘Jamie xx’ live at one of the following venues…

5th June 2015 – St John-at-Hackney Church, London TICKETS

6th June 2015 – Heaton Park, Manchester TICKETS

7th June 2015 – Wild Life Festival 2015, Brighton TICKETS

19th June 2015 – Sonar Barcelona, Barcelona TICKETS

4th July 2015 – Pitch 2015, Amsterdam TICKETS

9th July 2015 – Montreux Festival, Switzerland TICKETS

17th July 2015 – Melt! Festival, Gräfenhainichen TICKETS

21st August 2015 – Pukkelpop, Hasselt TICKETS

22nd August 2015 – Green Man Festival, UK TICKETS

28th August 2015 – Leeds Festival, UK TICKETS

29th August 2015 – Rock En Seine, Paris TICKETS

30th August 2015 – Reading Festival, UK TICKETS

10th September 2015 – Bestival, Downend TICKETS

15th October 2015 – O2 Academy Brixton, London TICKETS

16th October 2015 – Albert Hall, Manchester TICKETS

17th October 2015 – The Arches, Glasgow TICKETS

19th October 2015 – Gloria Theater, Cologne TICKETS

20th October 2015 – Den Atelier, Luxembourg TICKETS

22nd October 2015 – Paradiso, Amsterdam TICKETS

23rd October 2015 – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels TICKETS

24th October 2015 – Uebel & Gefährlich, Hamburg TICKETS

29th October 2015 – Ääniwalli, Helsinki TICKETS

30th October 2015 – Yotaspace, Moscow TICKETS

31st October 2015 – Glavclub, Saint Petersburg TICKETS

1st November 2015 – Store Vega, Copenhagen TICKETS

The full track-listing for ‘In Colours’ is as follows…


‘Sleep Sound’

‘SeeSaw’ – featuring Romy


‘Just Saying’

‘Stranger in a Room’ – featuring Oliver Sim

‘Hold Tight’

‘Loud Places’ – featuring Romy

‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ – featuring Young Thug and Popcaan

‘The Rest Is Noise’


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Jamie xx in colour