LIVING COLOUR – Collideoscope

LIVING COLOUR - Collideoscope


Mayan Records / Sanctuary
Release date: October 7, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Living Colour are back. Doesn’t that make you smile? It certainly makes ME happy. Not because their new album, Collideoscope, will put anyone on fire, but because they are HERE! …in 2003, playing!

They started out in 1988, releasing a phenomenal debut album, Vivid. The album went multi platinum. Two years later though, Living Colour had nothing better to offer their huge fan crowd than Time’s Up, a very out-of-direction and uneven effort. In 1993 the remaining fans left when the band shared nothing but 14 weak studio tracks under the name of Stain. ( Well, the song “Nothingness” wasn’t that bad…) Grammy awards and MTV Music Video awards didn’t help them, and the whole thing was over. The band parted in 1995.

Now we’ve got a new chance to give them a new chance. Collideoscope is the result of a long time’s work in the studio, and some of the time is spent well. Song Without Sin is the first track to jump out of the record, and it keeps on jumping; groovy, funky, and well played.

It almost makes you think there’s a party going on, but then track two, “A ? of When” makes you think twice. “A ? of When” is a noisy, industrial-like piece that just doesn’t sound any good at all. The following track “Operation Mind Control” is worse. Singer Corey Glover is dressed with a voice effect you certainly didn’t wait eight years to hear, and the tune is repetitive beyond boredom. (Just as bad as “Information Overload” on Time’s Up)

Then things are starting to work out nicely. “Flying” is one of the album’s strongest tracks, being slow, laid back and funky. Great sound, very well sung and played, and the lyrics are cool.

And there are more good songs an this album, but as you listen trough it, (and hopefully you will because in the history of rock music there has never been a band like Living Colour, so show some interest!),you regularly will get irritated by the vast number of pointless parts. And it’s a shame, because we all know (?) how good it gets when Living Colour fulfills their potential. There’s no guitarist like Vernon Reid. Back when they were big, there was just Steve Vai and maybe Slash who had a more recognizable way of playing.

At least six or seven of the tracks should never had made it to the record! Among these there is two cover tunes. The first of them is “Back in Black” (By AC/DC, if someone is wondering). What’s the point! “Back in Black” …we all have heard a million cover versions of that song before, and we certainly don’t need another one. Still, the first minute of Living Colour’s try at it sounds all right, but then it just gets awful.

The other cover track is The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” It’s not long since I wrote a review on David Lee Roth’s new solo album where he as well had covered this classic. I wasn’t impressed then, and I am not impressed now either. So, to everybody out there thinking of it: Leave it alone! (Corey Glover once did a much better job covering Deep Purple’s “Burn” on a Deep Purple tribute in 1996).

Living Colour has a message. Or actually; several messages. They’ve always had these serious themes in many of their lyrics stating political and social opinions. On Collideoscope, they still get political, occasionally. They get religious as well, and you could be able to discover several examples on intertextuality from traditional Negro spirituals and, as well, biblical references throughout the album (E.g. on “Nightmare City” and “Song Without Sin”). With “Sacred Ground” they get BOTH political and religious at the same time.

“Pocket of Tears” is another tune, that along with the aforementioned “Flying”, keeps the speed down, showing that Living Colour this time around sounds the best in a laid back mode. “Lost Halo” entertains as well, and “Holy Roller” is a simple, bluesy song that is easy to enjoy. If you want to listen to Living Colour sounding like Marilyn Manson, you just choose track eleven, “Choices Mash Up”! “Choices Mash Up” could, by the way, have been the title of the album…

All right, this is an uneven release, then. But keep in mind, we don’t need Living Colour to regroup so they can make albums better than their debut Vivid. We need them to be playing live. At least that’s what their come back means to me.

Check this site for a live review in October.


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