Album Review: James Blake – “The Colour in Anything”


James Blake is an ambitious and atmospheric electronic artist that brings beautiful sound for those in a state of leisure. On his new release The Colour In Anything, James Blake continues to transcend his music and keep it on a steady path to greatness with each story. Despite having these amazing spacious and melancholy sounds, the emotion evoked through it all is encapsulating.

Pertaining to themes of relationships, love,  life and more—questioning it down to the coffin. James Blake takes his listeners through a mind-provoking trip from start to finish, which is usually the case for his work.

Like most of his projects, Blake personifies himself with the array of synths used by him on his tracks. Rick Rubin co-produces the album, but his touches are sometimes distinguishable and sometimes very faint. This neither makes or breaks the album as Blake shines through the album his way.

Blake use of eloquent metaphors throughout the album is nothing short of amazing. There is nothing as beautiful as “Waves Know Shores,” a track that has Blake gives love the intimacy of waves and shores. He shows variations of why, while the instrumental carries slow love song influences, like “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie. His use of piano and synths make it come full circle.

Frank Ocean co-writes the slow-R&B toned “My Willing Heart,” which is only powered by it’s powerful lyrics as the production gets muddled into a faint simplicity, despite the clean post work on the album. The more it plays, the more you notice the way Frank puts his touch on the track. He also co-wrote “Always,” which sounds less like a James Blake track and more like a hybrid, the way he melodizes on the verse.

This is also apparent on other tracks, like “I Need A Forest Fire,” which features Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon. The song’s lyric describe a fresh start, using forest fires as example. Smokey wouldn’t be happy if we all thought this metaphor, but as the spacious track takes form, James Blake takes you into another world full of light and despair. The imagery in the lines evoked by both Blake and Vernon —“To burn it like cedar/I request another dream/I need a forest fire,” and “I’m saved by nature/but it always forgets what I need/I hope you’ll stop me before I build a wall around me,” on the chorus and verse respectively—take you through both the turmoil of the relationship and the fresh start beautifully.

The album is great at keeping consistency throughout, while James Blake continues to make interesting choices sonically. Like the opener, “Radio Silence,” that comes with a perfect drop, or “Two Men Down,” which is sounds more disco and funk than the others, but it rings true to its perfection. He’s an artist who doesn’t shy away from his base sound. And it is effective throughout this album.

James Blake is an interesting electronic to say the least. He’s not one to focus on heavy drops or rhythmic bass drums; instead, he’s toned to the classic piano and synths that in turn create an amazing sound. This album is not perfect in the slightest, but it is so well put together. The weaker tracks get blended into the album as a whole. In return it delivers a nice companion to Blake’s previous albums.

Rating: 8.5/10

Kevin Montes is one sarcastically satirical dude. He’s usually at home watching hours of comedy and television, primarily Simpsons. Kevin aspires to be a TV writer, a joke writer, and composer for all things Harmony Korine. You can reach him on twitter @iamkevinmontes to further ask about all things Simpsons.