Album review: James Blake – The Colour In Anything
- Credit: Archant
Blake delves deep into his psyche to pull off his biggest and best album yet.
Now firmly established as one of the UK’s top-shelf talents, electro-melancholic maestro James Blake has been busy of late.
Not only has the Grammy and Brit-nominated artist been putting together his third full-length album - a bit of a beast, weighing in at 17 tracks - but he lent his vocals, songwriting and production nous to Queen Bey herself for her acidic, world-dominating Lemonade.
Already established as part electro wunderkind du jour, part intimate balladeer, Blake uses The Colour In Anything to refine both roles, concocting nuanced and intricate songs which engage with an ethereal mix of piano and synths.
The pained opener Radio Silence finds Blake crying out “I don’t know how you feel” over this piano-and-beats combo, the space in between as eloquent as the sounds themselves.
You may also want to watch:
Lyrically, the record delves into the psychological hinterland of relationship breakdown, dislocation, remorse and the questioning search for meaning, with samples and electro schisms dropped in with as much careful consideration of their emotive effect as the aching, warmer piano motifs.
These lyrics tie the record together and prove his strongest, sharpest and most engaging yet - boasting a humanistic colour and texture.
- 1 Police cordon in place after Essex Road pub 'assault'
- 2 Petrol station forecourts closed and long queues in north London
- 3 How some Islington tenants are losing their homes in a matter of minutes
- 4 Thousands of care home staff yet to be vaccinated in London
- 5 Finsbury Park man arrested on suspicion of second north London murder
- 6 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 7 Man killed and two injured in triple shooting
- 8 Appeal to find four children missing from north London with father and grandmother
- 9 Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter
- 10 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
It’s good news on the musical front, too. He’s opened himself up to collaboration.
Leftfield folk icon Bon Iver’s vocals feature obliquely on the stunning I Need A Forest Fire.
Further rummages in the talent bag brought out Frank Ocean, who was recruited as a co-writer, the legendary Rick Rubin, who produces several songs and characteristically sharpens Blake’s focus, and children’s illustrator Quentin Blake, who’s decided to stick a naked woman in a tree on the cover;
I’ll never see James And The Giant Peach in the same way again.
Undoubtedly Blake’s best work yet (that’s James, not Quentin).
Rating: 4/5 stars