Review: Submotion Orchestra – ‘Colour Theory’ (Counter)

Submotion Orchestra Colour Theory Counter Records


The eclectic nature of Submotion Orchestra’s music makes it hard to pigeonhole. This has been the case on all of their albums and continues on their stunning fourth full-length, Colour Theory. They produce music that draws you in and then takes you on a journey. You don’t know where you are going, but you don’t mind at all. You just take in the aura and the vibe as you go — this is what Submotion Orchestra’s music does to you.

With the band’s vocalist Ruby Wood not featured as prominently as she has been in the past due to focusing on motherhood (when she is on the album, her instantly recognizable vocals shine through immediately) there are a guest vocalists who enhance the tracks to great effect, never upstaging or overpowering the rich music.

Andrew Ashong, who has worked with Theo Parrish, features on the luscious “Needs,” an initially mournful number that morphs into something a lot warmer. With Ashong’s vocals gliding over the laid-back bubble of a beat, it is immediately apparent that his vocals fit the song like a velvet glove.

“More Than This” features Billy Boothroyd. His soaring vocals make this track a standout cut while “Empty Love” features Ed Thomas, who sang guest vocals on “Blk & Blu” on the most recent Chase & Status album, Brand New Machine, and Wood on vocals. It is a triumphant soul-esque number with an anthemic quality that sees top-notch performances from both vocalists.

“Still” and “Catching Flies” feature Jaffa and AO respectively and are both fine additions to Colour Theory. The latter especially is testament to the skills of both Submotion Orchestra and up-and-coming producer Catching Flies. What they have crafted is an energetic anthem that will pack dance floors in clubs and festivals throughout the year for sure while the former is a grooving bass-heavy monster.

Elsewhere on the album “The Immersive Amira,” “Illusions,” the beautiful “Kimono” and the magnificent “In Gold” show the depth and imagination of the Submotion Orchestra sound. The fact that the album is called Colour Theory seems apt as the music is so vibrant while the band’s signature fusion of dub, electronic and jazz influences are very much still on point.

With its rhythms, vision and immaculate execution Submotion Orchestra have excelled with an album that will brighten up the cold winter and illuminate the upcoming summer. This year has only just started but Submotion Orchestra have already got it off to a perfect start.

Gavin Brown

One Comment

  1. This album is awesome. I didn’t think they’d be able to top Alium but they have. Much more variety and amazing production.

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