Album of the Week // 15–19 March
Puma Blue–In Praise of Shadows [Blue Flowers Music/PIAS]
Puma Blue, the London singer-songwriter AKA Jacob Allen, presents ‘In Praise Of Shadows’, which is available now on Blue Flowers Music.
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.” 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 Of 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 Fall-ing’, 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.”
In Praise Of Shadows is available in digital and physical formats, include a limited edition 180 gram milky clear double-vinyl packaged with an optional signed album polaroid.
1. ‘Sweet Dreams’
2. ‘Cherish (furs)’
3. ‘Velvet Leaves’
5. ‘Already Falling’
7. ‘Olive / Letter To ATL’
8. ‘Oil Slick’
9. ‘Silk Print’
10. ‘Is It Because’
13. ‘Bath House’
14. ‘Super Soft’
You can hear tracks from the album all this week on Morning Mari*! A 15-minute mini breakfast show from (09:00–09:15 GMT).