London's heartthrob Puma Blue shares new single and video "Opiate".
Puma Blue’s melancholic meld of organic live instrumentation and skeletal beats is set to reach its widest audience to date when he releases his debut album ‘In Praise of Shadows’ on February 5th. The hotly-tipped young Londoner has continued to earn plaudits, previewing the record with the recent singles ‘Velvet Leaves’ and ‘Snowflower’. Now he shares his latest cut ‘Opiate’ alongside its official video.
‘Opiate’ encapsulates everything that Puma Blue does so well. His voice, simultaneously delicate and affecting, expresses the poetic reflection of his lyrics. It’s set to a stark production which adorns a raw beat with the warmth of guitar, bass and sax, creating a rare hybrid of R&B, lo-fi pop and modern jazz.
Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen, explains:
“‘Opiate’ was the last song I wrote for the album, it was probably only a few weeks before I finished it. It’s about learning to love yourself, despite finding yourself dreaming of someone from your past and wondering why they resurfaced when you were so sure you’d left them behind. It makes you realise that you still have some healing to do.
Musically I was really inspired by UK garage and 2000s-era Timbaland. I based the song around the keyboard loop given to me by my friend Alex Burey. I tried to make the chords around it feel like waking from a deep dream, which is where the title came from.”
The accompanying video was inspired by photographer Cecil Beaton’s iconic portrait of the pioneering Chinese-American film star Anna May Wong. Jacob had added the image to his visual moodboard when he was making the album. It inspired Racer Pictures (director/producer duo Jack Walker & Alvy Vincent) to depict him in a similar style in the video, which they shot on 16mm film. It’s an elegant yet understated visual motif that’s just as compelling now as it was when Beaton captured the original in 1929.
The three new songs are indicative of the refined maturity and lucidity in the way in which Allen deals with his demons and celebrates beauty across his debut album.
A blossoming romance has informed his evolving songcraft and helped him to conquer his insomnia. Meanwhile, his burgeoning career has forced the previously bedroom-bound songwriter out into the open, driving him to find new perspectives on loss, love
and everything in-between.
‘In Praise of Shadows’ is available to pre-save or pre-order here.