Submotion Orchestra’s fourth LP ‘Colour Theory’ is an album for all seasons. Rarely found without a spring freshness, use it as aftersun, to fend off the cold from your log cabin, and let its autumnal colours shine through. The crew, lead by Dom ‘Ruckspin’ Howard and Ruby Wood, play it cool as much as they let emotions overflow, telling modern bedtime stories from Balearica to the sweetest of bittersweet melancholia, and between post-dubstep, deep house, and electronic soul drawing on Daphni and The xx.
The Leeds ensemble have built and built on 2011 debut ‘Finest Hour’ mixing thinking man’s dubstep with after dinner sensibilities. Phasing out their cigars and sax era and moving upwards from 2014’s ‘Alium’ without over-egging their bolder strokes, it’s closing time setup expresses humility in a carnival of vapour and afterglow capable of fading into the blackest ever black.
‘Needs’ featuring Andrew Ashong, has a folk-ish, arm-linking charm: as either affirmation or consolation, it could well develop a Jose Gonzalez-inspired life of its own. ‘Kimono’ comes with a touch of Todd Edwards’ over/under rhythms, and just as sun comes into view, dub-wise dirges tiptoe from around the corner. ‘In Gold’ isn’t hired to intimidate, but compels you to keep your guard up, Ruckspin’s bass swipes illuminated with incandescent maximalism.
With the ever breathy, mirage-like Wood (‘Red Dress’) counterbalancing poignancy with the nail-biting, Ed Thomas’ perspective on ‘Empty Love’ embodies the witching hour/post-Ibiza pop potential for wider exposure. Without it being a slight on Wood’s performance, it also adds to a beneficiary mix of vocal viewpoints, aimed at tightening the Orchestra’s hold over main stages and secret, more intimate tents out back. Watch this album’s name crop up over and over when best of the year lists are back in full swing.
Words: Matt Oliver
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