JAMIE XX - IN COLOUR ALBUM REVIEW - 9.3
Bitcandy Rating – 9.3
In early 2012, I had just fallen in love. Not only with the girl that soon will be my wife, but also (because of her) the sultry sexy sounds of The xx. I had been far too jaded and unromantic to be paying attention the first time around and their self-titled debut had passed right by me. But now I dug in hard and listened to the album more times than I cared to admit and "Intro," "VCR" and "Islands" all became anthems for our budding relationship. Then I started to dig in even further. I got my hands on Jamie and Gil-Scott Heron’s album, We’re New Here, and his Far Nearer / Beat For EP and knew that this guy was everything I wanted in music. I started running around town preaching about the works of Jamie xx to anyone that would listen. I was calling him the “Brian Eno of our generation,” comparing his work with the xx to Eno’s work with Roxy Music; just a jumping off point for one of the most important and transcendent careers in electronic music.
Coexist was on the horizon and I couldn’t have been more excited. And then it came out and it ended up being more or less a mediocre rehash of the first one. Then I went and saw Jamie DJ in LA and it was as uninspired of a generic house set that you can get any night of the week in Ibiza. It felt like a quick cash grab, not something beautiful from an artist with all the potential in the world. Sure it was a terrible club, but that wouldn’t have stopped Four Tet or Caribou. I didn’t let this steer me off. Off night, I told myself. A couple of quiet years later peppered only with esoteric productions and remixes and I was starting to maybe lose faith.
Here we are now on the verge of Jamie’s first true solo release and I’ve turned back towards my original opinion. This album is beautiful and challenging and danceable and everything I wanted out of the second xx album. It is as complete as the first xx album, with a new set of ideas and vision. Jamie is trying things here, and they all WORK. There are deep, emotional songs that transition perfectly into garage-y uk warehouse club bangers. He’s got Caribbean steel drums that would make Thomas Jack and Kygo blush for being both simultaneously derivative and lackluster. And of course we can’t forget about the beautiful vocals from The xx’s two singers Oliver and Romy. Jamie xx’s music just wouldn’t feel complete without them. This is an album for the death of the EDM generation. Goodbye big drops and deep house basslines, hello Intelligent dance music that belongs on the radio and the warehouses at the same time. Jamie, lead us out of the darkness and into the future.
The album is chock full of amazing tunes like "Stranger in a Room (feat. Oliver Sim)" and "Obvs" (a tropical house tune so original you’ll drop all your Bakermat talk for at least a week and a half). Unfortunately for you they aren’t all online yet — but I’ll give a smattering of thoughts from the ones that are — and hoo boy they’re all doozies.
JAMIE XX - GOSH
The album starts off with a bang with "Gosh," a song that belongs in every single warehouse and club set for the rest of eternity. Jamie delves into darkness without touching on the same haunting themes and tones he’s touched on in the past. This one is completely new for Jamie, delving into a whole new world of UK club music.
JAMIE XX - SLEEP SOUND
The sub-bass on this track is out of control. This is a beat that should make every hip-hop producer quiver in his boots. Imagine the world we could live in if everybody was rapping over beats like this instead of the same DJ Mustard beat over and over again. Completely original UK garage drum beats, coupled with absolutely stunning vocals tracks, this and "Gosh" make for an incredible 1-2 punch right out of the gate meant to grab you and hold you.
JAMIE XX - LOUD PLACES (FT. ROMY)
This is the best xx song there never was. With Romy contributing her gorgeous vocals and lyrical styling, this is exactly what the world wants to hear from these two. This is their finest track in this decade and I can’t wait to see how this informs their work together on album three. So much love for Jamie’s use of nightclub chatter as a sample, to help highlight Romy’s message about love and heartbreak in the night club scene.
JAMIE XX - I KNOW THERE'S GONNA BE (GOOD TIMES) FT. YOUNG THUG & POPCAAN
In a world where a Maya Jane Coles beat underneath Drake and Nicki Minaj rapping about Truffle Butter can be a massive hit, I think this song with its alluring hook has a place on the radio as well. For me, it has a completely world affirming message, the antithesis to Drake’s "YOLO." These guys aren’t saying “fuck it” to the world and do whatever you want cause YOLO, they’re saying, “it’s okay. There are good times ahead. Live your life.” This is the perfect existentialist message, coming out at a time when the world couldn’t need it more.
JAMIE XX - GIRL
Rarely are albums so bottom heavy. With "Loud Places" and "Good Times" at track number 8 and 9 respectively; we’ve got "Girl" (the lead single off the album) left to close it out. Here, Jamie takes us back to the club. "Girl" is a mesmerizing tune, attempting to get you lost and look inward on your night out. He’s not trying to sugar coat music. He wants his audiences to think and dream. Can’t wait to see Jamie xx mesmerize his audience with these tracks at Hard Summer this year. So grateful to see him coming through on the promise he made back in 2012.
You heard it here first. Jamie xx is as important as they get. Jamie xx is our Brian Eno. In Colour drops June 2nd on Young Turks. Make sure to get your hands on it as soon as possible. This is one to keep listening to on repeat. You’re gonna feel some feels, that’s for sure.
About Kurt Kroeber
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.