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Colours Review

by Jon O'Brien

Challenging Madonna in the reinvention stakes, London-based singer/songwriter Jamie Scott returns, alongside respected producer Tommy D (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kylie), with his third musical incarnation in six years, Graffiti6. Positioned as a legitimate R&B star with his debut album Searching, (released under his own name in 2004), and and his appearance in urban dance flick Step Up, he changed tact for second release, Park Bench Theories, a James Taylor-inspired collection of acoustic ballads recorded under the guise of Jamie Scott & the Town in 2007, and now, three years later, moves the goal posts again, this time with a wildly eclectic effort which at times recalls the psychedelic neo-soul of the under-rated Lewis Taylor, and at others, the hip-hop-infected Motown pop of Mark Ronson. Full of summery melodies, breezy harmonies, and Scott's gorgeous Stevie Wonder-influenced vocals, Colours could well be rivaling Plan B's The Defamation of Strickland Banks and Cee-Lo Green's The Lady Killer as this year's retro-soul barbecue soundtrack of choice, such is its inherently sun-soaked nature. "Calm the Storm," with its languid, Zero 7-style beats, woozy blues guitar riffs, and blissful Balearic acoustic hooks, is just perfect for those long hazy summer days, as is the dreamy nu-folk ballad "Goodbye Geoffrey Drake" and the lush trippy production of the Eric Clapton-tinged title track. But Colours is more than just a contrived attempt to gatecrash the chill-out scene, as the pair regularly up the tempo with equally effective results. "Annie You Save Me" opens with some ominous cinematic strings before merging with a blend of hip-hop rhythms, beguiling distorted vocals, and an infectiously upbeat chorus reminiscent of the 5th Dimension's "Let the Sunshine In." "Stare Into the Sun" is a colorful attempt at feel-good funk which allows Scott to unleash his inner James Brown, while there are also tracks channeling the lolloping boogie rock of early Kings of Leon ("Lay Me Down"), the jangly guitar-pop of the Cardigans ("Stop Mary"), and the rollicking Southern soul of Eli Reed ("Never Look Back"). The overlong acid-rock of "This Man" and the meandering piano-led closing number "Over You" drift into self-indulgence, but overall, Colours is a joyful and inventive record which suggests Scott may have finally found his forte.

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