WILD PATHS REVIEW: Puma Blue breaks hearts

Puma Blue played at Wild Paths at Open in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Puma Blue played at Wild Paths at Open in Norwich. Picture: Ruth Lawes - Credit: Archant

'You're like a warm hug from a bear' announced South Londoner Jacob Allen, who goes by Puma Blue, to the crowd at Wild Paths Festival.

It was said with a knowing smile and a swivel of the hips. Puma Blue, who is yet to release a full-length album, embodied Frank Sinatra in more ways than one.

Taking jazz as a starting point - he performed at Open with a saxophonist - he blends retro music with punchy bass. And pulled it off all while wearing an oversized waistcoat.

In Norwich, Puma Blue played into the palms of the crowd. At one point, when the mike cut out mid-song, he blurted out "Are we that rubbish?" and continued to play the guitar to a tick-tock arrangement.

But Puma Blue needn't have buttered up the audience - the music did all the talking.

On 'Moon Undah Water', in which a guitar riff pushes and pulls against a staccato drum beat - his voice dripped like caramel. "She's just a taste", he crooned. Quite.

Heartbreak song '(She's) Just a Phase' was restorative. 'She's just a phase/She'll be replaced' he crooned, while paring back his frontman showmanship to a gentle sway. The hearts of the thirty strong crowd simultaneously healed.

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Clearly, the set charted the throws and highs of romance. Highlight 'Want Me' was brimming with lust. The track, which was performed in moody blue lights, saw Puma Blue falter over the memory of an ex. "Those powder blue eyes", he sang, cracking gently on the high notes. The latter end of the song had no lyrics at all, allowing the audience to fill in the gaps over the sensuous chords.

Over the course of a 40-minute set, Puma Blue took Norwich back to the 60s and turned Open into a heartbreak hotel. With an album surely in the pipeline, it won't be long before people are checking in.

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