21 April 2013

Living Colour - Vivid

Once upon a time there was a band called Living Colour from America.  In the UK they were mostly known for a song off their second album called "Love Rears Up Its Ugly Head", they then sort of disappeared from the UK music scene.  In my local town they were still revered as most of the local rock DJ's loved them, but they sort of drifted into memory and then out of my own musical landscape.  Then came along a wrestler, called CM Punk.  He claimed to be the best in the world and then he won the biggest championship in wrestling and then kaybeface (ie - not really did this, but for storylines it was true) left the company only to return a few weeks later.  When he returned he came out to a song called "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour off this album that you are now going to read about. I will be honest to say I never gave this band much thought over the years, but now - thanks to the second city saint - now my interest is peaked.

Now I am not over familiar with a lot of funk metal to be honest. Apart from Extreme and maybe pre-Californication era Red Hot Chili Peppers this is a whole new field to me.  Now, this album is 25 years old and from the back end of the 80's - a decade which has not really been known for its production values in rock music, sometimes it is just awful to be honest. But the production job for most of this album by Ed Stasium is just spot on, the solo on "Desperate People" is a case for an almost perfect guitar solo which is usually in the realm of the Steve Vai's and Joe Satriani's of this world.  Another two of the tracks on this album are produced by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.  That is right; this band had Mick Jagger produce two tracks on their debut album.  How in the blue hell are they not bigger with that sort of backing!

Well, the only reason I can think that this band did not set the world on fire was the change of the musical backdrop.  Grunge and nu-metal were just around the corner, and as great as songs like "Open Letter (To The Land Lord)" and "Broken Hearts" are, they stood no chances against what was to come in the eyes of the media.  Also in the UK around the time of this release, the Madchester music scene was in full flow and the drug binging Happy Mondays and Charlatans were ruling the roost for some reason.  Now, hindsight is always 20/20 but I think that the music press at the time made the wrong choice.  This maybe 25 years old, but it stands up better than quite a lot of other albums from that era.  The bass is funkier than Prince and James Brown having a dance off, the drumming is just so loose it makes the hips want to shake in a way that might be seen as distracting.  Usually I like to let people make up their own minds, but on this one I do feel like this album needs to be heard, it has Public Enemy, Mick Jagger and a cover of the Talking Heads classic "Memories Can't Wait".  So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to CM Punk and WWE for reintroducing this band to me, and I do recommend you all to check this out.

10 out of 10 - this is proof that there is a God.

First of the links from Amazon

Second of the Amazon links (this is the import version)

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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