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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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5 stars Three Colours Dark is another one of those world-class releases that will go entirely unacknowledged by the prog world at large, a sad reality that will be challenged here and now. I have relied on a number of reviewers on PA and elsewhere to identify otherwise unidentified jewels that might fit into my wheelhouse and over the decades, "lazland" has never let me down, not even once! His review was the torch -lit parade that led me to a cursory investigation of who would be behind this debut album and that sort of sealed the deal. I am a big fan of female vocals in the prog realm, as they consistently outshine many of the males in my opinion, so bands like Karnataka, Mostly Autumn, Iona, Chasing the Monsoon, Panic Room, The Reasoning etc... are perennial favourites which I return to often and happily. Jonathan Edwards is a killer keyboardist and composer, while Rachel Cohen has a heavenly voice that can modulate with the absolute best of them. Talented multi-instrumentalist Tim Hamill, magical vocalist Steve Balsamo, BBT and XTC stalwart Dave Gregory adds a guitar part, as well as guest guitarist Chantel MacGregor all contribute to the grandeur. Throw in some trumpet, violin, flugelhorn to fill out the sound. I pride myself on having an open mind with prog, as many internal styles do appeal to me, but I have a melody fetish that never gets satiated and when I land on artistry that is overflowing with it, I find myself under an eternal spell. This is one of the reasons Celtic, folk and medieval music from various countries has influenced my tastes since the very beginning. From the very first notes of the spectral "Enter Soubrette", the stage is set for a gripping voyage into 'melody-land' that never let's go, no veering off into fluff or filler, just one sensational melody after another. While the structure does remain the same, the songs do vary within that framework, each one showing unique characteristics and varied arrangements. That first violin note just stamps this with genius, the elegance of humility blends with the crystalline voice and the haunting lilt, the passion highly evident and boldly displayed. The flow just meanders ahead, one lovely track after another, each with its own sliver of personality and genius, as well as attention to the slightest detail. Jonathan uses the piano as the main instrument in his arsenal, a beguiling instrument when played with such emotional technique. Tingling e-piano introduces "Wonderland", a liquid reverie shuffled along by a wistful bass-drum-guitar groove (all Hamill), intense lyrical content and magnificent vocal work (Rachel on lead and Steve backing up) , all swathed up in a melody that will stand the test of time. A sizzling burst of e-guitar provides the coup de grace. Indeed, how can this be love?

The piano guides the atmosphere on "Know You Now", a moody, jazzy and evocative ramble, essentially a piano/vocal duet until the trilling trumpet solo makes its glorious appearance, all combined, a colossal showcase. Intense lyrics only add to the thrill.

The cinematographic "Ghosts in the Wind", a simply splendid cover from the famed Richard Thompson catalog, is where Dave Gregory gets to flick his wrist on the fretboard, in unison with the dreamy e-piano and underlying grand piano. The vocal is lavish, then mood ethereal and the impact sorrowfully profound. It is about at this point that I had come to realize the grandeur of this work and how its just going to stay this way until the last second of the final track! The title track is crushingly beautiful, in the true sense of word, a mixture of purity, devotion and sincerity. The combination of choir and violin, the epitome of soothing luminescence in a symphonic folk setting!

The rolling "Tasted like Kryptonite" is another whopping performance in the level of modulation and control displayed by Rachel, doing a faded backing vocal intermezzo with aplomb, all merging together with great conviction. OO lala! "Rainbow's End" shines the light on Kate Ronconi's soaring violin work, the softness just a pretext to kick for the stars. Because as entertaining as the preceding tracks have been, I found myself dumbfounded by the remaining three, a trio of masterpiece tunes that clearly define the quality of this breathtaking release. "Blood Moon Rising" just raises the bar even higher, delivering a vocal performance for the ages (this could be a golden buzzer on BGT!) but the groovy organ solo as well as MacGregor's searing axe spot steal the show instrumentally. I mean, really! Can it get better than this? Answer: "Monster"! A full-fledged prog workout, a highly effect-laden, sinister in spirit, choir infested slash of musical genius that deliberately evolves into a volatile, explosive and bombastic crescendo of powerful emotions. Holy molly!

After all of the bewilderment induced up to now, it is only fitting to finalize the opus with a lovingly pretty 'goodbye', with parping brass underlying positive feelings and the violin searing the skies. Let us just hope that the science of goodbye can now apply to the pandemic virus.

And to parallel my friend Lazland, I also wish nothing more than another chapter in this stellar collaboration, as it sits exceedingly high on my mantel of prog masterworks. This album lies currently as number 6 on my 2020 list and it is not going anywhere, unless perhaps even higher!

5 Crimson shade trios

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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