Graffiti6 - Colours
Record Label: N.W. Free Music
Release Date: Sept. 26, 2010
Damn it, why do the Britons always get the good ones? Exhibit A is the soul-pop duo Graffiti6, featuring singer-songwriter Jamie Scott and multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ Tommy D (Kanye West, Kylie Minogue, KT Tunstall). Their debut record Colours is an old-school, sun-drenched excursion through sturdy pop harmonics and intricate sonic patterns. Like savants, there's very little mediocrity at work here. Whether its the intoxicating lead single "Annie You Save Me," or the soon-to-be splash "Stare Into the Sun," Scott and Tommy D have tapped into something indelible, important and undeniably impressive.
Like a British version of Gnarls Barkley, Colours is awash in trappings of soul, psychedelia, Britpop, dance, funk and R&B. Equal parts hypnotic, hyper and halcyon, there's something undeniably arresting about all of it. Laden with whirring organs, hip-hop samples, swirling keys and Scott's magnetic vocals, the songs are infectious, potent and tailor-made for radio. Crooner Scott is arguably one of contemporary's music's most underrated talents and is probably only months away from becoming the American media's new obsession. He sings with such ease, such swagger and such charm, he could make the Tibetan Book of the Dead sound smoother than Cee-Loo's "F$@# You."
"Lay Me Down," borrows from the Beach Boys playbook while the spartan "Over You" is a piano-laden hymnal that's tender, compassionate and downright enchanting. On the folk-inspired "Goodbye Geoffrey Drake," and the cerebral "Calm the Storm," the duo offers up some of the album's most ruminative lyrical terrain. For all its peaks, Colours' zenith just might be the gorgeous ballad "Free." It is there that everything about Graffiti6 sounds most fleshed out. Slow moving, inviting and buttressed by Scott's pitch-perfect vocals, it is as enthralling as anything you'll hear this year.
Perhaps what makes Colours so masterful is distinguishing a clear-cut favorite of the dozen. Inspired numbers like "This Man," "Colours," and "Never Look Back," are all equally potent and captivating in their own right. Save for the mildly disappointing "Stop Mary," and the self-indulgent "Lay Me Down," there's very few, if any, missteps. But even when they stumble, there's ample proof that the duo shows an uncanny ability to write engaging pop nuggets. In a few months time, Graffiti6 won't be the Britons secret for long.