Colours, the debut album from Britain's Graffiti6, is as vividly vibrant as both the project's moniker and its album title suggest: an uncategorizable mélange of pop, psychedelia, R&B, and British Northern Soul that fully capitalizes on the soaring uplift of Jamie Scott's emotionally transparent voice and gift for melody and TommyD's irresistible rhythms and inventive production. Songs like "Stone In My Heart," "Stare Into The Sun," "Annie You Save Me," and "Free" are "latter-day psych-soul nuggets, all phased vocals and sunshine melodies given the warp factor," as London's Guardian newspaper put it, while the remainder of Colours zigzags all over the musical map from the folk-soul balladry of "Goodbye Geoffrey Drake," to the spare, gospel-inflected feel of "Over You," to the downtempo sultriness of "Calm The Storm," to the jangly indie-rock vibe of "Lay Me Down." "For me, the unexpectedness of the sound is the whole point," Scott says. "It's fun to mess with people's heads."
The relentless experimentation on Colours reflects the lively imagination of its creators, singer-songwriter Jamie Scott and songwriter-producer Tommy Danvers (who goes by TommyD) - both London-born multi-instrumentalists who began making music together in 2009 and decided to call the resulting collaboration Graffiti6. (A third member, the British artist and illustrator Jimi Crayon, designs all of Graffiti6's artwork and is responsible for their bold logo and Technicolor visuals.)
"Tommy and I hit it off straight away," Scott says. "I brought in an idea I had for a folk thing I was doing and he said, ‘Let's go for it,' so we wrote it on acoustic guitar." The track was "Stare Into The Sun." Scott left to go on holiday for two weeks and received an email from Danvers when he returned saying he'd done a bit of work on the track and what did Jamie think? "When I first heard it, I was like, ‘What the f**k has he done to my song?'" Scott says with a laugh. "I was literally fuming. I had been expecting it to sound like my solo album. But then after listening to it a few times, I thought, ‘That's not going on Park Bench Theories, but I love it.'"
"I was already a fan of Jamie's music," Danvers says. "He was playing in this intricate style with amazing lyrics, and I just said, ‘Look, you've got to let rip on this, mate.' We both love a lot of the same music, so I think I awakened the Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye in him. He has a truly unique voice. It doesn't sound like anyone else and that's what I love about it."
Graffiti6 released Colours on their own NWFree Music label in the U.K. in October 2010 and in April 2011 signed to Capitol Records, which will release a digital EP in June, followed by Colours later this year. Their songs have already been heard on such shows as Grey's Anatomy, Covert Affairs, CSI: NY, One Tree Hill, and in the new MTV series Teen Wolf. Scott has relocated from London to Los Angeles and is looking forward to spending much of his time Stateside.
"I've been signed to record labels for nine years and I've always wanted to come to America," he says. "It was the one place where we got a load of love right away from the industry, so the minute my manager said, ‘Let's do it, let's move,' I said, ‘I've got my bags packed, man. I've had them packed for nine years.'"