Beginning the year with the release of Tongue Tied, a toe-tapper of a track abound with soothing melodies and dreamy synths, things look exciting for Bristol-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist James Humphrys. Since then, he has been making waves not only with features on BBC Upload – including a spot as ‘Track of the Week’ – but also by helping to raise money for food banks in Bristol with his contribution to Mass House’s lockdown album Quarantine Machine. Now, with his new single Colour, from the upcoming EP Memory Palace, Humphries looks likely to continue his upward trajectory with a funk-driven pop track brimming with fiendishly catchy hooks.

“…the sound bursts into a spectrum, each layer a different, brightly-coloured hue, creating a vivid kaleidoscope of rhythms.”

Immediately, the song launches with a twang. The playfulness of this opening guitar riff is spirited and breaks into a beat that is as infectious as it is danceable. Before long, the sound bursts into a spectrum, each layer a different, brightly-coloured hue, creating a vivid kaleidoscope of rhythms. Humphrys delivery of the energetic verses and chorus lies somewhere between the suave of an early Tom Misch and the groove of Parcels. By the time the track mellows out into a rasping trumpet solo, the listener is basking in the tune’s palpable glee. Although, there is still time for a mischievous break  just before the kick drum drives the crescendo of the outro, a move that encapsulates the single’s cheeky nature.

“…there is something alluring about a coldness that is surrounded by such warmth and light”

Written at sea off the coast of Alaska whilst Humphrys was working as a musician on a cruise ship, the song has a facade that hides a darker message of false pretences. “It is clear to see you’re trying,” Humphrys sings in the chorus, “but trying cannot set you free”. The image of a sun-soaked Alaskan glacier comes to mind; there is something alluring about a coldness that is surrounded by such warmth and light. Yet, despite its brooding undertones, Colour has the potential to truly brighten up this year’s unpromising summer.

8/10

Out Now.

Words: Alex Gibbon @al_gibbon