AOTY 2021
Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2021 Ratings: #57 / 666
User Score
Based on 126 ratings
2021 Ratings: #222
Liked by 11 people
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The Skinny

Yellow brims with kindness and connection through its musical messages, reminding us refreshingly of what it is to be a human among humans.

The Arts Desk

For all the preposterousness, and preposterous ambition, there’s an authenticity that comes from someone reflecting themselves with total conviction, that makes it hard not to love.


Some of the best moments here are her twitchy funk miniatures, driven by tuba basslines, distorted Fender Rhodes riffs and chant-based vocals, which leave you wanting more.


Yellow is a triumph of Thackray’s singular vision. A positive, consistent, joyously listenable and danceable album, which somehow pulls off being both instantly memorable and continually surprising.


Thackray crams a lot into the 14 tracks of her cerebral yet deeply groovy debut.

Despite the abundance of compositional ideas, they are all executed with attention to clarity, cohesion and detail. Thackray's auteurist approach in the studio combined with her peerless precision and control feel like a whole new genre unto itself.
‘Yellow’ is exactly the life-affirming collection to help those in need to hang onto the idea of a dim light at the end of a very, very dark tunnel.
Self-consciously designed to echo a transformative lysergic experience, ‘Yellow’ comes to embody everything Emma-Jean Thackray strives towards, and describes: you emerge in a quite different space than the one you entered in, the world around you subtly transfigured.
The end result is vast and ambitious yet deliberately welcoming. Its many sounds and rhythms greet listeners wherever they are and compel them to invest in an altogether wondrous sonic journey for body, mind, and soul.
Beats Per Minute

As was intended, Yellow is an album of elemental joys and unity. It’s taking what is inherently a complex form of music – and is still highly technical in the hands of these players – and makes it into something for all to enjoy

The debut from the English bandleader and producer is a fascinating blend of spiritual jazz and brass band that can sound full-on psychedelic while staying grounded in its clever arrangements.
The Line of Best Fit

With Yellow, Thackray solidifies her place in the vanguard of London acts bringing younger audiences to jazz.

Loud and Quiet

Yellow has the hallmarks of a record you might happen upon after hours of thumbing through miscellaneous LPs at a flea market, whose tonal poise and propensity for experimentation are too invigorating and interesting to keep to yourself.

Festooned with planetary hymns and gushes of free-love sentiment, the LP achieves the kind of celestial ecstasy it so avidly craves.
Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow

Genre: Jazz Fusion
Country: UK

Final Verdict: 62% (Good Album)
Yearly Ranking: 320th / 804

Highlight: Third Eye

Made me think of:
Sons of Kemet
Jeff Parker
Nubya Garcia
A really interesting blend of jazz, soul and electronics that i will definitely be returning to
Emma-Jean Thackray blends jazz with electronics and soul to compose a project full of energy, colourful textures, and groovy melodies. I wasn't a big fan of the chant based vocals nor did everything connect for me but overall, it's an admirable jazz fusion album.
For many years now, the U.K. has brought a nice breath of fresh air into current jazz scenes and that continues to be true with the debut album Yellow from bandleader Emma-Jean Thackray. Throughout this tight set of tracks, you here her and her band bring together not only jazz, but funk, soul and psychedelia. This blending of sounds go well with the lyrical themes of the songs focusing on bringing people together and reminding us we are all united and created equally in the same way. I really ... read more
EN: "Yellow" rewards your mistakes with the whimsical hits of a Jazz Fusion. The chaos is established and ceased by simpler things, like the rhythm on the drums. Most of the flaws stem from being too pretentious and wanting to stretch out the songs when they could easily serve as an interlude, only 10 songs being needed. This doesn't take away from the great merit he has in trying to bring back Jazz Fusion, a genre that has stagnated. Bravery that I recognize by the courage and ... read more
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Track List

  1. Mercury
  2. Say Something
  3. About That
  4. Venus
  5. Green Funk
  6. Third Eye
  7. May There Be Peace
  8. Sun
  9. Golden Green
  10. Spectre
  11. Rahu & Ketu
  12. Yellow
  13. Our People
  14. Mercury (In Retrograde)

Year End Lists

/The Key
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Added on: June 2, 2021