Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Puma Blue finds tranquillity and beauty in the break of Holy Waters' dark moments

"Holy Waters"

Release date: 01 September 2023
Puma Blue Holy Waters cover
29 August 2023, 09:00 Written by Lana Williams

“I’ve been trying to make peace with death”.

This sentiment rings throughout Puma Blue's second outing. Despite overt morbidity, existentialism and impending dread, Holy Waters finds tranquillity and beauty in the break of dark moments, the patch of blue sky that appears amongst brazen storm clouds. From spiritual experiences of speaking to his passed grandparents (“Epitaph”), loneliness (“Hounds”) and embracing sadness (“Mirage”), Puma Blue finds himself at his most honest and open in his latest transient record.

The solo project of London native Jacob Allen, Puma Blue is a moniker that dotes on love (“Pretty”), loss (“O, The Blood”) and everything in between, all the while boasting delicate lo-fi textures, poetic narratives and insatiable melodies. Holy Waters is Allen’s rebirth. Filled with reflections on mortality, Allen drowns himself in an open confrontation with fears of death before re-emerging at peace, and wholly aware of the conditions of existence.

“Pretty” offers reflections on feeling inadequate within yourself via a lover providing reassurances of beauty (“You make me feel so pretty”). The howling vocals in the bridge juxtapose the track's title and the sweet melodies that introduce the cut. In stark contrast to this buoyant, breezy soundscape, “O, The Blood!” offers up more sultry vocalisations as Allen laments atop insistent beats on the hyperbolic wave of emotions that succumb following a breakup. Moody vocals dominate the dreamy ballad as he croons and pleads “If only I could awake / To the silhouette of your face”.

Leaning more into a jazz-infused soundscape, “Hounds” reflects on loneliness, but appreciates the small details of existence (“A warm bed in which to sleep”). Slowly unfurling from delicate electronic notes and soothing vocalisations into dominating post-rock instrumentation, the diversity and intricate arrangements of “Hounds” cements itself as the stand-out track on the record. For Puma Blue, experimentalism pays off tenfold.

Where the album as a whole takes root in accepting the end, “Dream Of You” details trying to run from death and avoid the inevitable at all costs. The soft acoustics stylings found in the crevices of the cut find themselves veined throughout the title track before the penultimate “Mirage” emerges in an electronic soundscape. Sitting in the same world as Ben Howard’s earlier tracks, “Mirage”’s delicate dotings is a heart-wrenching ode to the death of a school friend, as Puma Blue finally accepts that the end of life cannot be avoided.

The record, as a whole, finds its home in exploring avoidance, overwhelming emotion and experimenting with electronic-cum-ballad soundscapes. Simply, In Praise Of Shadows walked so that Holy Waters could run.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next