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Three Colours Dark - Love's Lost Property CD (album) cover


Three Colours Dark


Crossover Prog

4.24 | 17 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Although not a native Welshman, I have been living here long enough to feel a certain sense of pride at the achievements of local bands. It is no exaggeration to state that the finest performers in South Wales are undergoing a renaissance, and one of my top three albums last year was the debut collaboration between Jonathan Edwards and Rachel Cohen, namely Three Colours Dark, without forgetting the intrinsically important role played by producer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Hamill.

When I wrote my review for their excellent debut, The Science of Goodbye, I expressed a hope that this would be the springboard for a longer collaboration, and now, a mere 18 months later, I and the many appreciators of class music who enjoyed that album have gotten a wish fulfilled with the release of the sophomore album, Love's Lost Property, which again, in addition to the main protagonists, features the return of guest musicians such as Dave Gregory, Steve Balsamo, and the richly textured violin of Kate Ronconi.

Indeed, it is her wonderful haunting tone which introduces us to the new work on the opener, and title track, before we are treated to a vocalist in the prime form of her career. Rachel Cohen has a beautiful voice, capable of those vital swings between ethereal wonder, sparse beauty, and menacing power. She has never sounded better and combined with a song-long guitar solo this 8-minute plus track is thoughtful, evocative, and simply a lovely infusion of melody and progressive leaning music.

Lyrically, the album continues the themes of the debut, but, I believe, concentrates more on the aftermath of that journey, the coming out of the darkness into the bright light of life. The second track, Dark Before Dawn is a bluesy number with rich inflections, with a particularly lovely keyboard underpinning the rhythm section which itself supports more evocative guitar and Cohen vocals. Just about as good as modern day prog-influenced blues music gets.

Requiem is simply gorgeous. What Edwards and Cohen do so well is present the listener with something as deceptively simple as a piano loop overlaid with a well-sung story before surprising us by introducing one of my favourite musical instruments, namely the classical oboe, played with aplomb here by Catherine Tanner-Williams. Delicate, but powerful, I rather wish this were a longer track, but this is a minor quibble.

Last Day on Earth follows, a smouldering diary meditation on our fragility and ultimate mortality. There is a further burst on this of the type of blues guitar that Gilmour would have been more than happy to put his name to, and the orchestration accompanying the centre-stage of Cohen is a delight. The closing passage raises the tempo profoundly.

Wish I Wished You Well is another thoughtful piece, with Cohen vocally soaring over a clear piano, before Ronconi returns with that lilting violin of hers. Reflecting on love's aftermath and the pain inflicted on Cohen by the subject, this is just about a powerful a ballad as you will hear this year. Music does not need to be played at 120 decibels to be powerful. This is power, and it segues into The Circus, another meditative piece on the soap opera which is life and love featuring more of that beautiful violin at its heart and a toe-tapping underscore. As the sounds of the circus itself close, we are introduced to the new single which has been available on YouTube and Bandcamp for a couple of weeks now, Ordinary World.

Now here we place before you a wee bit of advice. Be openminded. Ordinary World is a cover, and what is more, it is a cover of a single released by those lovely looking lads of the 80's and 90's, Duran Duran. Yep, that's right, those New Romantic heroes of yesteryear, and there will be many reading this review who will wonder just what on earth it is doing on a progressive rock site. Well, believe it, and enjoy the sound of Three Colours Dark rocking out and creating an expansive wall of sound. The track itself was written by Simon Le Bon as a tribute to a dead friend and was performed memorably with Pavarotti at a WarChild benefit concert. Personally, I think that Duran Duran were a decent band, and their offshoot Arcadia's Election Day was one of the finest complex pop songs of its era. This is a track which will live in your memory for a long time. Symphonic opening, violin, foot-tapping rhythm which opens in much of the vein of what preceded it. Three and a half minutes in, we have some deep and dark effects backing Cohen before we listen to a wonderful guitar solo which leads us into the final couple of minutes. The guitar screams, the tempo and sound are expansive, and, yes, about as good a progressive rock track as you will hear in 2021. Open mind and open ears, ladies and gentlemen. The final bars will linger in your head for a long time to come.

The penultimate track is Eye For An Eye. Coming in at almost six minutes, I can only describe this exceptional piece as dangerous. It exudes a sense of dramatic menace throughout, Edwards' keyboard work especially provoking that sense at the opening segment and Cohen means every single word when she gracefully, but powerfully, talks about moving on. At the mid-point, you simply gawp at the speaker as Steve Simmons brings to the party his tenor saxophone. The final two minutes is about as loud and powerful as it gets with Cohen and Balsamo competing, and a guitar spitting out its anger. Really quite brilliant and exhausting, we are then allowed to come down from this feast with a reprise of the opening track and more wonderful violin and a lovely paeon to the treasure that is Love's Lost Property from Cohen.

This is an album which delights more with each listen. It is most definitely to be filed in that drawer marked "grower". As with all exceptional music, it demands patience and appreciation of the listener, and those of you who love female-fronted melodic prog will be all over this and your patience will be richly rewarded. It has it all. Haunting melodies, blues-infused passages, symphonic prog, classy musicianship, crystal clear production and the sound of an ensemble at their peak.

Here on PA, reviewers are duty bound to award a rating out of five. The debut I awarded four stars. This is very much a progression from that wonderful debut, and it is, therefore, given five stars. It really is an exceptional piece of work which strikes a deep chord within me, and I know it will for those of you reading this who share my musical tastes, which I hope are eclectic in the true meaning of that often misused word.

The physical album is available from Burning Shed from 6 September, and you can also download it from Bandcamp. I might also add here that the cover painting is worth the price of a physical copy alone.

My thanks to Three Colours Dark for providing me with an advance digital copy for the purposes of this review. I am off to Burning Shed during my lunch break to get my CD!

lazland | 5/5 |


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