Jamie XX

In Colour (XL Recordings)

Phases & Stages

At the zeitgeist of the indie electronic movement, Jamie Smith goes from the austere black and white of the minimalist London trio whose moniker doubles as his surname to the vivid In Colour of his solo debut. By doing so, the XX's beat chemist goes mainstream. Always one step from total ruin, mysterious producer Burial – perhaps this 26-year-old UK sound manipulator's closest peer in Thaumaturgy – works the damp, muddled edges of sonic ambiguity. Jamie, meanwhile, operates with precision here: malleable, nuanced, and without discernible subtlety – all between the hours of fashionably late and "Dude, this was the best night ever." Opener "Gosh" provides a moody tip of the cap to the jungle/drum-and-bass culture's heyday, while rejoinder "Sleep Sound" rumples trip-hop and dub. Then, similar to Jamie and the late Gil Scott-Heron's remix project We're New Here, the former starts dropping in vocalists as his featured instrument. On In Colour, that ranges from XX bandmate Romy Madley Croft on the anthemic claps of hit single "Loud Places" and percussive pulse of "SeeSaw" to Young Thug and Popcaan on club banger "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)." On tonality alone, "Good Times" doesn't belong, yet within the album's linear progression, the protagonist has found the object of his affection. Penultimate cut "The Rest Is Noise," moving from chillwave to a neo-Motown commingling of boom-bap and piano, effectively signifies Jamie's last call, the do or die to make that move. By the end of closer "Girl," mission complete. To the hero, the spoils. While the tale and methods of In Colour are well-worn, Jamie XX, like Burial and Four Tet before him, proves himself a master storyteller.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Kahron Spearman
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Sept. 11, 2020

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
Lucinda Williams, Ray Prim, and Curved Light lead the pack

Aug. 21, 2020


Jamie xx

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle