Album review: Jamie xx - In Colour

Jamie xx is a UK-based record producer, DJ, and solo artist. His debut record, In Colour, is a kaleidoscopic set of sprawling yet intimate dance tracks with catchy grooves and beautiful, layered instrumentations. Opener 'Gosh' sets the album off like a starting gun, with a smacking, insistent beat as entrancing as it is physical. Soon, an almost impossibly simple melody rises to soar in plain but beautiful arcs. This track is a perfect example of the paradox in Jamie xx's music: it is loud, large, and spacious while also quiet, immersive, and intimate. Obvs, another single from the record, starts with a simple steel drum pattern and evolves into a series of melodies that link up with each other like a jigsaw puzzle, ultimately coming together in a blissful chorus akin to a classical invention. This is one of many spots where Jamie's compositional skills really shine. Next is the quiet and airy interlude Just Saying, which brings us to Stranger In A Room, the only track here that you might mistake for an xx composition. This track features Oliver Sim (the xx) singing over a distant synth pattern, and that's about it. It's not a bad track, but compared to the thoughtfully layered, generous instrumentations that precede it, it is definitely the most boring. Thankfully, Stranger In A Room serves as a buildup to Hold Tight, which unfolds a lot like opener Gosh. Here, a strong beat is immediately established, and a helix of keyboard, stuttering bass, and vocal samples twists and turns over a four chord pattern. This track has the energy and forward momentum of a roller coaster ride. The record closes with Girl, a looming, thick dance track with a slow funk bassline similar to something from Tame Impala's Currents. It's a satisfying and decidedly danceable ending to the record, (add conclusion) Standout tracks: Gosh, Obvs, The Rest Is Noise 8/10