LISTEN: Stray One – ‘Remembering in Colour’

Remembering In Colour’ is one of those rare tracks which enters, occupies and expresses a state of mind so much more evocatively than a string of words could ever convey. This is the latest track from Manchester-based musical project Stray One – consisting of Jay Plent and Benjamin Harris.

The track opens with melodic keys holding an interestingly fast pace to them, a refreshing change to the dwelling piano notes which proceed so many existing tunes out there. For what Stray One illustrate quickly, is an ability to gauge and guide the audience through certain sensations and moods. The listener is left empathising, aware and emotionally invested in the music developing, at an early point.

It’s about looking back, feeling the intensity of times gone by and recognising their resonance in the present.

Keys gain texture, a second melody – more ascending –  builds in as the lyrics linger in their hot, profound notes: “I see the resemblance/ But you don’t look familiar.” Then the utterly unexpected happens. A guitar crashes in with a judder, lashing the lyrics into a more concrete image: “In the backstreets of my heart/ In the corner of every reflection.

At first, I am unsure as to whether I like this instrumental entrance, but as it then goes onto open for a surprisingly upbeat rhythm surging forward with the two sets of piano and a driving drumbeat; my mind is turned over. For this is a track designed not just to delve into thought, but to encourage ourselves to journey further within and encounter our own inward experiences. To remember, in colour.

Such an encounter is led by a soaring vocal, embracing the emotive quality of language. Lines like “Where the lights are” shows how the track builds on imagery as the instrumentation accumulates around it. I perhaps would have liked a little more clean-cut quality to the voice, allowing for the capacity for empathy to be even more open. But then again, part of the power of this track is how feeling is creatively conveyed, the words wielded as part of the sonic treat of those juddering guitars, keys and bass brimming together.

Sensitive, well-synchronised layering certainly is another skill of Stray One, as the sound again shifts its dynamic to harmonies heart-felt over the title line “Remembering in Colour.” Now I realise why perhaps earlier lines lack complete clarity, as building towards this emotional burst… a concept that is clever  – and I like it.

The resounding refrain seems in turn to underline the realisation which has occurred in the course of the track, “Some feelings, some feelings, some feelings/ Just don’t fade away,” which ends the song on a strong note. At just over four minutes, this an impressive piece of music and a meaningful listen.

Find Stray One on Facebook.

Emily Oldfield
Lover of music, poetry and Manchester.

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