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Three Colours Dark - The Science Of Goodbye CD (album) cover


Three Colours Dark


Crossover Prog

4.12 | 31 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Three Colours Dark is a new project with keyboardist Jonathan Edwards (Panic Room and Luna Rossa) and vocalist Rachel Cohen (formerly of The Reasoning) rekindling their creative partnership from Karnataka, alongside Panic Room producer and collaborator Tim Hamill, who makes for an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist.

The resultant album, The Science of Goodbye, is available from Burning Shed and as a digital download on Bandcamp.

Before discussing the album itself, it is very much worth mentioning some exceptional contributors to the album. Dave Gregory, formerly of XTC and Big Big train lends his unique guitar to a cover version of Richard Thompson's Ghosts In The Wind.

In much the same way as Rachel Hall has added a deep and lush sound with her violin playing to BBT, so has Kate Ronconi of alt-folk outfit Rag Foundation here, and certainly fans of BBT's more introspective moments will find a lot to please them on this album.

Completing the line-up are Welsh singer Steve Balsamo (who has played the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar), Nathan Bray (who has played with a host of jazz outfits plus one Michael Rutherford) on brass, and Chantel McGregor (whose work I have heard being featured on Planet Rock radio) on guitar and ebow.

From the gentle synth passage, and particularly lush violin of Ronconi, leading into the unique voice of Cohen on the opening track, Enter, Soubrette, you know you are in for a treat. A Soubrette is a female stock character in opera, and the lyrics on this provide the introduction to the whole theme of what is, at its heart, a cathartic lyrical and vocal performance by Cohen, whose voice has simply never sounded, in turns, so fragile, pointed, and haunting as on this work. She truly excels and is reason enough to go out and buy this album alone.

And said theme? Narcissistic abuse, that of the emotional and psychological pain inflicted on a person by a narcissist, and, as the definition implies, a lot of this is extremely raw. If you thought that Waters was the byword in tearing open internal emotions and repression, then think again, because this work is deeply personal and heartfelt throughout.

Of course, such a lyrical journey is but nought without some fine music. Edwards has long been, to these ears, a fine musical creator, and he provides his trademark soundscape to this album. Hamill proves no slouch, either, as his guitar riff on Wonderland (How Can This Be Love?) proves.

So, this album is not merely an outpouring; it has at its heart all the musicianship that you know and expect from South Wales' finest collective prog exports.

Jon's exquisite piano looping behind Rachel's vocals, and the dreamy jazzy introspection of Know You Now.

I mentioned before the cover (all other tracks being co-written by Edwards and Cohen) of Thompson's work, this from his superb (not difficult ' all of them are) album, Across a Crowded Room. Cohen's intonations are spot on, without ever being derivative, and Edwards provides the perfect haunt to a ridiculously lovely Gregory performance playing a 1963 Guild Duane Eddy guitar.

Standout track for me is Three Colours Dark. Emotional, raw, beautifully sung with added choir by Cohen, Edwards adding classy electric guitar, Hamill with a pulsing bassline, and Ronconi reintroduced with her ethereal violin. Thoughtful progressive folk-tinged music at its most provocative.

Tasted Like Kryptonite has a jazzy edge to it and features the three main leads only.

Rainbow's End evocatively speaks of wounds so raw, and I cannot think of a better musical accompaniment than the singing violin leading the vocal, synth, and guitar harmonics.

The gift that Edwards, especially, has in creating catchy, 'prog-pop', tunes is highlighted strongly on Blood Moon Rising, with its strong chorus, and this features a great guitar riff from McGregor, who proves she can rock with the best.

The mood on Monster, as the title suggests, is foreboding. This is a dark track, full of menace, led by the soundscape Edwards creates, with the questions asked by Balsamo, and the permanently bleak guitars, bass, and drums of Hamill leading up to a brilliant rock out in the final minute and a half.

The album closes with the title track, an altogether brighter affair. This is a sensible closer, because here the catharsis realises itself. Cohen has rediscovered everything and is made again. In tone, certainly, this does remind me very strongly of Made Again from Brave, the end counterpoint to the testament which preceded it. Apart from Gregory & McGregor, the collective performs with Cohen & Balsamo singing in harmony, and all contributing to a foot tapping finale, with something of a pomp attached to the violin, trumpet, guitars, and rhythm. Very enjoyable and impossible to classify excepting under the tag 'damned good music'.

I thoroughly enjoy this album, which will be on my playlist for years to come, as, of course, are the albums of the bands which make up this collective. What is certain is if you enjoy Karnataka, Panic Room, Luna Rossa and the vocal contribution to The Reasoning by Cohen, you will find much to enjoy here.

Very highly recommended and awarded an 'excellent' four star rating. I, for one, hope that this is but the first in a series of such collaborations.

My grateful thanks to the band for providing a cd for review purposes. This is also an opportunity to give a 'shout out' to illustrator Karl James Mountford who has done a fine job on the visual side of the cd.

lazland | 4/5 |


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