Search amongst 1098181 Articles


$10.18 All prices include VAT Free delivery
Add to Cart Buy It Now Save for later



Artist: Living Colour
Illustrator: Vernon Reid
Label: Megaforce


Shade, the sixth studio album from Living Colour (and the first since 2009's The Chair in the Doorway), opens with an anthemic track full of Vernon Reid's guitar heroics, Corey Glover's impassioned vocals, and a prominent sample from Malcolm X. No, it's not "Cult of Personality," it's called "Freedom of Expression (F.O.X.)," but in a world where African-American hard rock bands are still considered a novelty, you can't blame these guys for thinking not much has changed since their debut album, Vivid, dropped in 1988 -- or at least not as much as a reasonable man would hope. Arriving in 2017, Shade is a somewhat different animal than Living Colour's early (and best-known) work, but there are more similarities than differences. The band's attack is harder and heavier than it was in the '80s, the sly humor that once leavened their albums is largely absent, and their production is more clearly informed by hip-hop in its use of samples and edits, though this is still a hard rock band first and foremost. Shade is also more steeped in the blues than most of Living Colour's previous work, especially on "Who's That" and a fiery cover of Robert Johnson's "Preachin' Blues." But the center of this music is still Vernon Reid's guitar, and he's still a remarkable player, fusing the wail of hard rock, the cry of the blues, and the broad tonal palette of jazz into a musical flamethrower that puts most metal soloists to shame in terms of vision and impact. Glover, bassist Doug Wimbish, and drummer Will Calhoun have the strength and the imagination to keep up with Reid, and while they may take their sweet time between albums, when they come together the results remain taut and satisfying. If defiance and anger are the key operating emotions of many of these songs, that's probably to be expected in 2017, and the full-bodied cover of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" only points to how many social ills of the '70s are still plaguing us today. But as Joe Strummer once told us, anger can be power, and the musical and emotional furor of Shade is a powerful and much-needed weapon in a chaotic time. ~ Mark Deming