For the past couple of years, South East London's Puma Blue, aka Jacob Allen, has been tipped by just about everyone (including us) as a prodigious talent with greatness in his sights. Last year he dropped a live recording of an intimate live show he performed in Atlanta, but now he's ready with his debut studio album proper, In Praise Of Shadows.
Ahead of the album's release — which, according to Allen, was influenced by his mutual love of garage and Timbaland — he's lifting the lid on key extract "Opiate". Stripped back and modest in its arrangement, Allen's feather-light vocals dance gingerly over an even more delicate guitar melody and a crisp drum beat. As he explains in greater detail below, the song itself is about navigating the long road to closure and how it's not always a linear path. Sometimes, just when you feel like you're almost there, the road ahead can seem longer than ever.
"'Opiate' was the last song I wrote for the album," Allen explains. "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."
In Praise Of Shadows drops February 5. Pre-save and pre-order it here.