Love To You Mate Is Colouring At His Most Cathartic

Colouring (not to be confused with the mindfulness activity/children’s art task) is the solo project of Nottingham songwriter Jack Kenworthy. Once a band of four, Colouring has taken on a dual identity since 2020 as both the singer-songwriter’s career and his main cathartic outlet. Following on from 2021’s Wake, troubled times and unspeakable sadness have been melted down and reforged into the poignant but celebratory Love to You, Mate.

Drawing art from tragedy can be a difficult task but for Kenworthy, it appears as though the art is made as a natural reaction to harrowing events – in the case of Love to You, Mate, collating the experience of losing his brother-in-law.

While the poignancy can be felt in many tracks, such as the title track ‘Love To You, Mate’ and ‘A Wish’, there’s an upbeat note which feels like it’s celebrating the life of those who’ve gone on before us; best felt in ‘For Life’ and ‘For You’. It takes strength to see the light in the dark like that, and it’s especially admirable here.

There’s surely some kind of magnetic pull involved with the first track / second single ‘For You‘, a buttery track with some beautifully polished production and catchy samples providing a foundation for smooth, hooky vocals. The beats driving the song forward are complicated and interesting, a winning formula when partnered with the staccato-style vocal melody. Notably, there’s not a huge amount of dynamic change within the song – the energy stays the same from start to finish, with a fairly subtle lift in the chorus.


Sometimes you can feel some of the same energy brought forth by Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Beats To Relax/Study To; a YouTube live stream that plays an endless collection of non-distinct, ambient hip-hop beats, usually put on in the background while you fail your degree and derail your future. There are surely a few dozen readers who used this livestream as stress relief throughout a difficult thesis – whether that is a fond association or not is probably down to the individual.

‘I Don’t Wanna See You Like That’ follows in this vein; those gorgeous, blurry chords and choppy beats provide a solid foundation for the vocals to sit on. Still, the lo-fi style has its drawbacks. By the time you’ve reached ‘Lune’, you feel as though you’ve heard the same song twice, parts feel recycled or too similar. The lack of a dynamic arc can grate somewhat as songs try and fail to hold your attention.

‘A Wish’ breaks the trend entirely, even if we do fall back into samey, lo-fi habits in ‘The Light’. There’s a twinkly synth motif that feels refreshing, a distinct new vocal melody and some more evocative lyrics. Notably, there is a pulling back of vocal effects here, in the title track and in ‘Coda’ that lets a raw, passionate vocal come to the fore – something especially heartwarming in such a polished, well-produced album.

‘For Life’ brings across even more personality and an Elbow-like astuteness in the lyrics. Conversely, there’s such a majestic, soundtrack-like feel in ‘For Life’, ‘A Wish’ and ‘Small Miracles’ that feels less like the personal experiences of one Jack Kenworthy and more like an attempt to surmise an extremely specific emotion through sound alone. It feels like Overhead, The Albatross without the Looney-Tunes time signatures or Sigur Rós without the Icelandic.

Love To You, Mate has been a varied experience. In parts, you can feel your heart fracture. In other parts, your foot taps without your permission and your head bops along to some unique, creative songwriting. Sure, the album might fade into the background in parts. When it holds your attention though, you know you are listening to a very special album written under the most trying of circumstances, something that’s always to be admired.