Release Date: Feb 10, 2015
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
It would be easy to forgive mistaking Rumer’s Into Colour for a lost ‘70s soft pop gem. So of the era is both her voice and arrangements that the only thing betraying the album’s 21st century origins is her 1979 date of birth. To achieve such an era-appropriate sound and feel, singer-songwriter Rumer enlisted the help of Rob Shirakbari, music director for Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick, and Darryl Hall’s rhythm section.
Rumer’s first collection of original songs since her 2010 debut Seasons of My Soul has real emotional heft, dealing with such personal subjects as a miscarriage (Butterfly) and mental health issues (Dangerous). As ever, she sings with admirable restraint, eschewing melisma in favour of an adherence to melody in the style of Dusty Springfield or Karen Carpenter. Rumer is even closer to her muse than on her last outing, Boys Don’t Cry, an album of 70s singer-songwriter covers released in 2012.
Rumer's third full-length album, 2014's Into Colour, once again finds the British singer/songwriter delving into a batch of '60s and '70s soft pop-influenced songs. Although Into Colour follows up her equally-as-vintage-sounding covers album, 2012's Boy's Don't Cry, here Rumer eschews the cover songs in favor of very personal, all-original material. Collaborating with her boyfriend, producer/arranger/songwriter Rob Shirakbari, who fittingly built his reputation working with such icons of AM pop as Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach, Rumer has crafted an album that retains all of her vintage inclinations without ever falling into retro kitsch.
Sarah Joyce never became desperate enough to find her fortune through The X Factor – had she done so, she might have been able to cash-in her difficult upbringing for several rounds on the show before inevitably being eliminated poolside at Cheryl’s house on the grounds that she can’t pull off a sarong. Not that I'm attempting to denigrate the openness of the artist more familiarly known as Rumer – after all, it's those emotional qualities that saw her debut, Seasons of My Soul garner the recognition she longed for. On that record she sang “Don't tell me it's all right/ It'll never be all right” - call it clairvoyance or just a coincidence, but shortly after its release Joyce was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress, seeing her rise to fame buffeted by performing issues.
Rumer’s debut album Seasons Of My Soul was one of the unlikelier success stories of 2010. After a decade of obscurity spent singing with long-forgotten indie act La Honda and releasing albums in South Korea as plain old Sarah Joyce (her real name), collaboration with British composer Steve Brown finally bore fruit. Her debut single, Slow, was featured on commercial radio, with follow up Aretha becoming BBC Radio 2’s Record Of The Week, and suddenly Rumer was big news.
The promotional demands made upon Rumer by her top-five debut album, Seasons of My Soul, caused Britain’s Karen Carpenter soundalike to fall ill with post-traumatic stress disorder. Into Colour, according to press reports, is the sound of Rumer tackling the fallout, though the sterile songs rarely indicate as much. Dangerous, the set’s first single, channels Salsoul-era disco but elsewhere the mood is flat and the tunes forgettable, Rumer’s muted voice lacking the mystique of the 70s folk artists she reveres.