Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen, has been making quite the name for himself over the last few years. Since the release of his Swum Baby EP back in 2017, the South London native has gathered an impressive following, regularly selling out shows and racking up millions of streams online. The tunes he makes are all crafted from the comfort of his bedroom, blending elements of jazz with pounding lofi hip-hop drum beats and laying his signature velvety falsetto voice over the top. In Praise Of Shadows isn’t particularly different to what we’ve heard from Puma Blue before, but it is certainly a more mature and polished rendition.
What is especially great about this record is the way in which it immerses you in the emotion of it all, at times giving you a glimpse into the deepest parts of Allen’s soul. The album speeds up and slows down again throughout, almost as if he’s taking deep breaths in-between to share more of his truth with the listener, particularly with moments like ‘Cherish (furs)’ and ‘Already Falling’, which provide strong R&B heavy vocal ballads reminiscent of D’Angelo to really hit you in the feels and get you thinking during those 2am reflection sessions.
“Please don’t go, ‘cause you made me feel on the inside,
yes, you made me feel alright.”
In Praise Of Shadows has everything you could want and more. Funky bass lines, saxophone riddled jams, delicate synths with twinkling guitars layered over them in perfect harmony and intimate lyrics that feel more like spoken poems than anything else. The album begins with ‘Sweet Dreams’ and does exactly as it promises, sending you drifting on a bed of reverb to a dreamland where you can dance with your inner thoughts.
Favourite songs: Velvet Leaves, Already Falling, Oil Slick, Opiate, Bath House