Album Review: James Blake, ‘The Colour In Anything’
After a three year absence, the arduous wait for the follow up to Overgrown is finally at an end. At long last, we have been gifted with The Colour In Anything – a highly anticipated, but surprisingly low key divulgence of James Blake’s new record.
Although the artist has teased us with his new sound through his monthly Radio 1 residency, the 1-800 Dinosaur project, not even the excitement of James Blake’s album artwork illustrated by the world famous Quentin Blake being sighted across London could prepare us for the mastery of his new sound. While the mournful piano chords of Overgrown snuck their way into the intimate atmosphere of teenage bedrooms and his electronic beats allowed him to thrive in the mayhem of muddy festivals at Glastonbury – It is my pleasure to assure you that the electric sound of Blake’s music has not been neglected in his new record. However, it is crystal clear through song’s like ‘Modern Soul’ and ‘Always’, co-written by Ocean (Yes, he lives on) that Blake’s focus on the soulful aspect of his sound is more refined, adding richness to his production. The Colour In Anything is a hauntingly intimate album imbedded with themes of self-doubt (‘I Hope My Life’) and revelation, evident in the lyrics of ‘Waves Know Shore’s’ matched by the optimism of trumpets throughout the 2 minutes and 56 seconds of tranquil noise. Also, it can not go unmentioned that the Fall Creek Boys Choir return with a euphorically resonant vibe in Blake’s new work of art. This collaboration with Justin Vernon is without a doubt the most poignant piece of music that the duo grace us with. It should have come with a warning: may cause flooding of tears across the nation. In fact, new ‘rivers of England’ could be made ‘because of a few songs’ in this album. (Too many ‘Modern Soul’ references?) ‘Meet You In The Maze’ and ‘The Colour In Anything’ are perfectly charming, matched with insightful advice from the equally charming artist himself (“I can’t always help you, but I can listen for the sounds you’re making” and “Music isn’t everything”).
It is no wonder that Blake is being recognised by the royalties of music. The likes of Beyonce and Chance the Rapper remind us that you can never be too late to the James Blake party. The Colour In Anything is a paradigm of joyful sadness that feels powerfully transcendent yet delicate in it’s intimacy. Finally, a celebration of James Blake’s indisputable talent.
Catch Blake at Green Man Festival 18-21 August 2016 in the Brecon Beacons or on his UK tour at the end of October through to November http://jamesblakemusic.com/live/
- Radio Silence
- Love Me In Whatever Way
- Put That Away And Talk To Me
- I Hope My Life – 1-800 Mix
- Waves Know Shores
- My Willing Heart
- Choose Me
- I Need A Forest Fire ft. Justin Vernon
- Noise Above Our Heads
- The Colour In Anything
- Two Men Down
- Modern Soul