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PUMA BLUE

Puma Blue

Holy Waters

    Death nestles like a sweet creature at the heart of Holy Waters, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2021’s In Praise of Shadows. It’s less a morbid study in mortality, more a chronicle of the graciousness within each repeated cycle of life, death and rebirth, arriving eventually at a gentle affirmation to himself, to the listener, at the album’s close, to keep going, “don’t let the dark take you whole”. It’s the hope-tinged bleakness that gets you.

    A substantial leap in Jacob’s artistry; extraordinary multitudes of hurt and relief are journeyed in his writing, navigating the spaces between grief and elation, and the strange semblances between solitude and community. Across its eleven tracks, his voice is a gossamer fabric delighting in the brightest language as he retraces every path walked in the harshest years of his life with a startling sincerity, looking each face of grief in the bloodshot eye. For the most part, he accepts it.

    Recorded with his live band over the course of two visits to Eastbourne’s Echo Zoo Studios, a joy permeates each sonic corner of Holy Waters, the studio techniques more analogue and experimental than his previous work, but sounding fuller, richer, killing what ego was left in Puma Blue and paying their band-centric debts proudly. Inspired still by luminaries from Jeff Buckley to Björk, more important to Holy Waters was Portishead’s inexplicable marriage of a live band and production, and the improvisational work of Can and Hendrix. This is an album that can be devoured late at night with headphones as much as it can be blasted on the open road.

    While Holy Waters might be his darkest work to date – even when compared to the moreish sadness flooding his breakthrough EPs Swum Baby (2017) and Blood Loss (2018) – it seems to find Puma Blue in a better place than ever. It’s as if death being the centrifuge to the album has made the beautiful moments that remain all the more beautiful; after all the sorrow and pain has passed, Holy Waters basks in them.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Stripped back, perfectly poised beauty here from Puma Blue, revealing another layer of faultless craft with each subsequent listen. Rich melodies, jazzy syncopated percussion and glitched bass, soaring harmonies and perfect modern production.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Falling Down
    2 Pretty
    3 O, The Blood!
    4 Hounds
    5 Too Much, Too Much
    6 Epitaph
    7 Gates (Wait For Me)
    8 Dream Of You
    9 Holy Waters
    10 Mirage
    11 Light Is Gone

    Puma Blue

    In Praise Of Shadows (B-Sides & Live Versions)

      Puma Blue won widespread critical acclaim with the release of his debut LP ‘In Praise of Shadows’ earlier this year. Described by NME as “a brief moment of relief for those lost in the darkness” the album found his storytelling at its most honest and vulnerable to date whilst his production reached new heights, retaining its characteristic bedroom intimacy.

      Yet for all the intimacy of his ‘voicemail-ballads’ on record, his songs carry a different resonance in a live setting; a mix of improvisation, in-the-moment escapism and the collective power of an audience taking his music to new heights. It’s something the producer & vocalist, real name Jacob Allen, has had a lot of time to reflect on in the last year, the absence of touring, combined with a move to Atlanta GA, giving him the time and distance to fully appreciate the importance of the record vs. live dichotomy to the way his work is perceived, experienced and felt.

      Jacob says, “As beautiful as I could make something on my own, it could never compare to what these beautiful boys bring to it. Not just because they’re incredible musicians who are really connected to the spirit of music, but it’s more that live music is such an untameable thing. It’s such a deeper spectrum.”

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Postcard From Tokyo
      2 All I Need
      3 Velvet Leaves (Live)
      4 Snowflower (Live)
      5 Already Falling (Live)
      6 Sheets (Live)
      7 Oil Slick (Live)
      8 Opiate (Live)
      9 Bath House (Live)
      10 Super Soft (Live)

      Puma Blue

      In Praise Of Shadows

        Over the course of two EPs, two singles and a stripped-back live album, Puma Blue has established himself as one of the UK’s most vital new talents, quietly amassing over 50 million streams in the process and selling out shows from London to LA and Paris to Tokyo. Now he’s set to build upon his growing underground acclaim by releasing his long awaited debut album ‘In Praise of Shadows’ on January 29th via Blue Flowers.

        ‘In Praise of Shadows’ is a delirious dreamland of soulful vocals, D’Angelo-ish guitars and muted electronic beats. Its fourteen tracks are a contemplation on “the balance of light and dark, the painful things you have to heal from or accept, that bring you through to a better place” says the 25-year-old Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen “It’s about finding light in darkness - and realising that it’s what got me here today.”

        Puma Blue’s nocturnal, soul-searching sound was born from a decade in which the 25-year-old was plagued with insomnia, “for literally a decade, I just couldn’t sleep,” says the cult-acclaimed London songwriter/producer. That certainly helps to explain the hazy, late-night “voicemail ballads” of the early EP releases that propelled him to prominence, 2017’s ‘Swum Baby’ and 2018’s ‘Blood Loss’ earning him a reputation as affecting chronicler of unrequited love and inner turmoil.

        It’s an intimacy still present across ‘In Praise With Shadows’ but there’s also a new maturity and lucidity to the way in which Allen deals with his demons and celebrates beauty across his debut album, influenced no doubt by his journey over the last two years in which a blossoming romance has finally helped him to sleep whilst a burgeoning career forced the previously bedroom-bound songwriter out into the open, driving him to find new perspectives on loss, love and everything in-between.

        The result is an album astonishing in its openness, from bittersweet reflections on past relationships - “I never learnt to cherish her” Jacob laments on ‘Cherish (furs)’ - to pure love-laden soliloquies such as ‘Already Falling’ or ‘Sheets’, one of the albums most personal moments, which borrows a sample from the score of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and repurposes it as a lilting love-song that Allen describes as “like a really personal note that you’d leave in the house to be found when you’ve got to head out early.”

        TRACK LISTING

        1 Sweet Dreams
        2 Cherish (furs)
        3 Velvet Leaves
        4 Snowflower
        5 Already Falling
        6 Sheets
        7 Olive / Letter To ATL
        8 Oil Slick
        9 Silk Print
        10 Is It Because
        11 Opiate
        12 Sleeping
        13 Bath House
        14 Super Soft


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