Atlanta-based London native Jacob Allen, better known under his moniker Puma Blue, is back and better than ever with his sophomore offering Holy Waters, which sets its sights on the high bar set by his debut, In Praise Of Shadows.
The trifecta of singles which preceded the release of the collection had already left listeners with an interesting mixture of flavours left in their mouths, having showcased Holy Waters‘ broad range upfront.
Opening with saxophone-laden dreamscape ‘Falling Down’, the multi-instrumentalist starts strongly and pairs his signature ethereal vocals with wandering synth notes to make his mark on the listener. The album’s first single, ‘Pretty’, may be second in the running order but by no means in standards and sees Allen’s voice reach even more sultry heights as he builds a romantic base to combine perfectly with eery synthesizers.
‘O! The Blood’, another of those aforementioned singles, kicks things up a notch, as building drums beckon a more upbeat tempo. The first track released from Holy Waters, 2022’s ‘Hounds’, sways between styles, escalating anticipation throughout.
‘Too Much, Too Much’ is a standout. Jacob’s falsetto sends shivers up the spine on a six minute long track which makes stops at a variety of stages and melodies. The shortest offering, ‘Epitaph’, changes up the vibe of the album midway through, and delivers layered vocals and tingly melodies.
The second half brings a more beat-heavy, techno-esque stylisation, whilst retaining the chill purveyed in the early moments of Holy Water. The titular track brings a multi-layered, smooth-jazz element, with soaring vocals echoing around the space. Finally, ‘Light Is Gone’ offers a haunting melody with piano heavy instrumentalism. Another high point, the lyrical content and delicate vocals beautifully decorate a stupendous base.
Overall, the follow-up release from this London native is extremely impressive, surpassing the heights of his debut. The levels of lyricism and instrumentalism throughout beat substantial expectations and if this is the holy water offer, I’d have absolutely no problem being baptised in it.