By: Matthew S. Robinson (Associate Writer)
Artist: Living Colour
It's been 10 long years. And though Living Colour still brings the Funk (and the Punk and the R&B and the Aggro and all the rest), they are also lacking a few things. Top on this list is originality. Having created the world of Hip-Hop Rock while bringing social consciousness to new (decibel) levels, the band is apparently content to fall back on the familiar. In addition a squealing cover of AC/DC's "Back in Black" and helter-skelter exploration of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," the band also cops David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" in the bass-slapping 9/11 ditty "Flying." Alongside classic Colour cleverness such as the line "Fools Rush In Where Angel Fear it Said" ("Lost Halo") are tired turns of phrase like "Nobody Knows the Trouble She's Seen" ("Nightmare City"), the repetitive chorus "It's Operation Mind Control/It's the battle for America's soul" ("Operation Mind Control," which also contains the ironic line "It's down to repetition") and the equally circular "A ? of When." Fortunately, even these weak lines are hooked with Corey Glover's soulful slink and quickly overwhelmed by Vernon Reid's soaring/searing solos, Doug Wimbush and Will Calhoun's polyrhythmic excursions and a healthy dose of blaring samples. In addition to these overarching high points are a number of other positive spins, including the dark grooves of "Pocket of Tears," the edifying scorched earth attacks of "Sacred Ground" and the beautiful (but too short) instrumental coda "Nova." So even though there may be some unwelcome new additions on this latest album, the sound that made Living Colour the original "cult of personality" is still around.
It's been 10 long years.
Welcome back, Boys!