COLOURS - "Colours" (Dot DLP-25854) May 1968
They spell it the English way, and for jolly good reason. Colours have the crystalline sharpness of The Beatles before they turned acid. Colours have a rainbow sound, but you can distinguish one hue from another rather than fight through a haze of fuzzy static, funky confusion, and screeching feedback.
They also write love songs. "Helping You Out" has a kind of walk up honesty that cuts through the dreamy creamy gush lyrics.
"Washing your clothes when you're gone for the day and then hanging them out, helping you out."
The spectrum of Colours features Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery, neither more than a quarter century old, both of whom are professional musicians. They write the songs that lead guitarist Rob Edwards, drummer Chuck Blackwell, and bass guitarist Carl Radle help spread on a palette of sound. They will tackle a mess of changing time signatures, such as their "Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby" where they move through six sharps from 6/8 to 4/8 to 3/8 then 5/4 and even 5/8, changing rhythms with the quick ease of the most wigged-out electronic classic composer.
Yet underneath is a straight, raw narrative about a tragic hero who, unlike the dramatic victims of a folk song, knows what is in store for him from the futile start.
They have clarity, a gently dissonant sound full of the blues, the beat of a street band, the horns of a jazz connection, even the words of folk nostalgia. "Brother Lou's Love Colony" is a free form cantata about the hippie colony in California. It ends with a classy coda underscored with, of all sounds, bagpipes. In "Rather Be Me" a number about identity, the drone vocal and music suggests music from Morocco or the whine of a sitar weaving an Indian raga. All that in the rarely used key of Eb minor lends a greater weirdness to the song.
Colours takes a trip in "Cataleptic", richly harmonizing over eerie organ music, or rips off a bold, bouncy "Lovin" and "Don't You Realize" in a style that smacks of music hall and vaudeville energy.
So Colours does have that broad spectrum of electric sounds so prized in today's rock, but they pull it off without indulging in jarring cliches. And, with a youthful joyfulness, they don't paint it black.
(Jon Borgzinner - back cover liners)
|Billboard - May 1968|
|Billboard - July 1968|