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'Shade,' their first album since the critically acclaimed 'The Chair in the Doorway' in 2009, is Living Colour at the height of their creative powers, still experimenting as though they were upstarts instead of seasoned veterans. While the blues served as the foundation for the collection, one shouldn't expect to hear the 'down-home' style that was once the soundtrack of sharecroppers and southern juke joints before the music rode the rails north during the Great Migration. Living Colour's blues incorporate a myriad of influences, while speaking to the politically-charged climate of the times. 'What better way to talk to the world than through the blues?' vocalist Corey Glover asks. 'We recorded 'Preachin' Blues' several times to jump start the project and that got everybody fired up. After that, we were ready. 'Shade,' in its final outcome, is more of a deconstruction of the blues than an interpretation. It was the idiom that gave us our voice.' Produced by Andre Betts who first worked with Living Colour on their album 'Stain' in 1993 he would spend five years in the studio with the band perfecting the project. Initially introduced to Living Colour by their bassist Doug Wimbish, Betts was more than ready to face the challenge of working with such perfectionists. 'Making records is an art and a process, and sometimes it can be easier to herd cats,' Wimbish laughs. 'But, when it connects and we come together, it's a beautiful thing. 'Shade' is a testimony to who Living Colour is, to our chameleon quality.' Without a doubt, that quality comes across clearly on the 13-track effort. 'Shade' is a sonic journey that careens from the furor of 'Blak Out,' an old school thrasher that struts with a gangster boogie to 'Program,' a searing, socially-spiked cocktail that nods to the band's iconic hit 'Cult of Personality.' Stand-out tracks such as the acid funk balladry of 'Two Sides' (complete with a guest appearance by George Clinton) and the afro-punk fireworks of 'Glass Teeth,' prove Corey Glover's vocals to be stronger than ever, while Vernon Reid, long acknowledged as one of the most creative guitarists in modern rock, lives up to his reputation on album opener 'Freedom Of Expression (F.O.X.)' and the soul blues of 'Who's That?' Drummer Will Calhoun points to 'Invisible,' which pays homage the late Buddy Miles, among his favorites on the album.
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Thank you guys! You carry the torch for REAL music of thought STILL and I am SO glad to finally have another album by Living Colour to add to almost 25 years of listening to you! SO worth the wait!
The track order is different on the vinyl I got which is cool to mix it up from the cd track order. Creates quite a different listening experience.Although on the labels and back cover its listed in the same order as the cd, it says on SIDE B that "Glass Teeth" is 3rd its actually the 2nd track on the side and "Who's That" is 3rd. That and the tracks numbers on the back of the album cover for Side B start at 2! Oh and there is another difference in one of the tracks on side 2..see if you notice!
(The blue and purple swirled vinyl sounds great too.)
ETA: listened to this now for 4 times already, man, this album rocks. Thumping bass, nice guitar licks, and that voice... Perfect 5/5
ETA2: this is the only Living Colour album i can listen to all the songs in one go, without skipping songs. All these songs are great. Program still my fave, Preachin' Blues a close second, Always Wrong, Freedom of eXpression are also great songs!