Bart D. : (Warning: subjective review.) There is this phrase which must be as old as modern times: "why isn't this band more famous???" Case in point: Living Colour. It can't be the music and it can't be their live performances. It must be something hard to grab. Now I hear you say "but they're quite well-known, aren't they?" Yes, perhaps, quite, quite. But they should be notoriously big. In a good way. Living Colour is a band that combines tradition and progression, influences and individuality, critical thought and a forward voice. And they capture all that, you guessed it, in the best rock songs out there. 'Shade' is filled with confirmations of my previous statement.
Living Colour never are a band to shy away from what they feel is right and from what needs to be done and said. Somehow, audiences seem to have trouble "getting" this sort of band. Yes, it's rock. Yes, there's influences in there that you don't necessarily hear like that in rock music. Yes, that's partly what makes it so cool. Yes, it's fucking political. But it's also more than that: it's about life. It is wisdom and inspiration, but it's also partying fun. Yes, those things can go hand in hand. 'Shade' proves this without a doubt.
I've been playing 'Shade' a lot last a month, and there is not one song on there that becomes stale or boring. Part of the magic is that with Will Calhoun, Corey Glover, Vernon Reid and Doug Wimbish, Living Colour have four equally important voices. On 'Shade' they really use the dynamic possibilities of their interaction intensely. Listen to what they do with Marvin Gaye's 'Inner City Blues'.
'Shade' has a message. 'Two Sides' puts this very clear: there are, indeed, two sides to every story. The truth. And the lie. It's time to quit the bullshit. Playing Living Colour loud is part of that movement. But regardless of inspiration and wisdom: this is some groovy, heavy, energetic and addicting music. What's your favourite colour again?