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Review: Werkha - Colours of a Red Brick Raft

Review: Werkha – Colours of a Red Brick Raft
John Donovan

Review Overview



Colours of a Red Brick Raft, the debut LP from the Manchester-born and now Glasgow-residing Werkha, is his most accomplished work yet.

Lauded across the board by a wealth of tastemakers, most notably BBC 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson, Tom Leah’s intricate sound has over the years been maturing, developing, and is now flourishing. This heady fusion of soul, afro-beat, jazz and electronica eludes classification, and attests to Tom’s proficiency as both a musician and a producer.

The biggest initial impact of Colours is not just the diverse instrumentation, but the expert sonic placement of every clap, breath and note. Every nuance sits in its own little pocket, without negating the overall warmth and organic feel of the record.

The marriage of Bryony Jarman-Pinto’s rich vocals with the sultry strings of Dusk make for a truly rewarding listen. Her contributions across the album, that include the pushy bass-driven soul joint Sidesteppin’ and the dusty jazz-inflected roller City Shuffle, provide the highlights of the LP.

Solid and complex grooves permeate the album, most notably on House of Saffron and Dim the Light, grooves that nod a head towards the likes of Dilla, Fly Lo and Bonobo. Tom recently completed a tour supporting the latter, and the influence is evident throughout Colours.

Border Kite takes the strongest tug at the heart strings – guitars and strings meander around the frantic bass and drums, combining to provide a melancholy not dissimilar to the emotive works of Cinematic Orchestra.

Colours of a Red Brick Raft oozes with creative flair, vibrancy and musical craftsmanship. It has soul, it has funk, it has feeling, and with this perfectly executed blend of both acoustic and electronic sounds, Tom Leah sits comfortably above his peers. The future sure looks bright for this young gun.

Werkha will play Global Rhythms at Oval Space w/ Gilles Peterson, Channel One Sound System, Romare and more on August 1st. Tickets and more info here.

Colours of a Red Brick Raft is out now on Tru Thoughts.