Recordings | Feb. 12, 2015

By Cait Brennan, Feb. 12, 2015.

Rumer - Into Colour

Atlantic Records |  4 Stars

The pressures of fame can crush the most hardy of hearts, and for London songstress Rumer, a platinum-selling debut album (2010’s Seasons Of My Soul) came with a lot more stress than she bargained for. From there, she released a fantastic covers album, Boys Don’t Cry, in 2012, but her struggles with depression and bipolar disorder caused her to step away from the spotlight and retreated to California’s Laurel Canyon, where so many of her artistic influences have roots. The break did her good, because she’s back with a strong set of originals that capture the vibe of classic Southern California soft rock with a very up-to-date groove.

The album starts with a syncopated hit worthy of the Love Unlimited Orchestra, the classic disco-infused “Dangerous.” It’s the catchiest, danciest tune about depression you’ll hear this year, and it’s the lone nod to rhythm in a set of lush, intimate ballads.

Rumer’s voice recalls Karen Carpenter with a hint of Dusty Springfield’s “Northern Soul,” and the songs here frame her talents perfectly. Her voice inspired legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach to write songs specifically for her, and his sophisticated melancholy is alive and well here. This album was produced by Bacharach’s musical director, Rob Shirakbari, and Stephen Bishop, whose 1977 hit “On And On” is still an FM staple, co-wrote three songs including the lovely “Sam.”

It’s bittersweet music, full of longing and late-night wistfulness. Rumer plays it safe a little too often, but her voice is hypnotic and pure, and if you love the Laurel Canyon sound, Into Colour is likely to end up on your favorites list.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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