Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Living Colour - The Chair In The Doorway

Approximately six years have passed since Living Colour released their last album, Collideoscope, and in the time passed, they've toured, put out several live performances on DVD and CD, toured again with Doug Pinnick of King's X while vocalist Corey Glover performed in Jesus Christ Superstar and changed labels. What does any of this mean? Absoultely nothing because Living Colour have delivered an album that continues with the experimentation of heavier sounds, electronics, Funk and Rock of the previous two albums while retaining all of the elements that have allowed them to stand out since their debut (1988's Vivid).

The Chair In The Doorway, at times, feels like the album that should've arrived with their comeback intead of Collideoscope. This album is definitely a heavier album and is closer to 1993's Stain because of that one particular reason. That and the opening track "Burning Bridges" would have been the perfect comeback song as are the metallic followup tracks "The Chair" and "Decaydance." Within two of the first three tracks, you hear the sound that Living Colour began on Stain. It is a dark and dirty extension of their melodic brand of Hard Rock.

These tracks are followed by "Method" which features lyrics such as "heaven is burning" and "party is over/circus has left town/it's the morning after/and you're coming down, down, down." The song's dark, melodic instrumentation is the perfect supplement to Glover's delivery of melodic doom. This leads into the album's lead single, "Behind The Sun," a song that is one of the most upbeat songs in their catalog and destined to become a concert staple for every performance from here on out.

Elsewhere, there's the Blues-Funk-Rock swagger of "Bless Those" with each of the instruments supplying a different element to the track. Guitarist Vernon Reid provides a sliding Blues guitar before providing one of his classic solos while bassist Doug Wimbish shifts between a Blues bass line and a funky slapping bassline. Tying it all together are Glover and drummer Will Calhoun who follow the song's flow whichever direction it goes without missing a beat. This track is the standout track for me and further proves that the band has yet to disappoint as musicians, individually and as a group.

That can be said about the album as a whole. It's a really solid album and a welcome addition to their already stellar body of work. The only thing that, in my mind, works against it is the fact that it feels more like the followup to Stain due to its heaviness instead of the followup to the musical depth contained on Collideoscope. It, however, brings enough of the electronic and melodic elements of that album to their newest album and on top of that, it is performed by a group of extraordinarily talented musicians and a well recorded album. In fact, I preferred the production of this album over the last two albums. It's clear, well mixed and makes great use of each of the performances recorded. Although The Chair In The Doorway feels like a step back, it is still proof that Living Colour is more than capable of recording great Rock songs and solid albums 21 years after their debut.

Suggested Tracks:
"Burned Bridges"
"Behind The Sun"
"Bless Those"
"That's What You Taught Me"

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