Vital, vibrant and burning, Living Colour return with a thrilling fifth studio album.

For some of us, it’s hard to believe that it’s been over 21 years since Living Colour kicked in the doors to mainstream consciousness with their debut album, Vivid (May, 1988), which yielded three singles, including their Grammy-winning signature song, “Cult of Personality.”

“The Chair In The Doorway” is a darker, but warmer album than past Living Colour efforts.  Don’t get me wrong: Corey Glover’s voice is still that captivating combination of an invitation and a threat all in one package.  And, yes, the band’s amps still go to eleven. Longtime fans won’t be disappointed: There are still plenty of hard rock numbers like the metallic “The Chair”; the head nod-inspiring “DecaDance”; the fun, screamo “Out of Mind”; and the upbraid in “Hard Times.”

But it’s also got ambiance and a bluesy rootedness that make it very accessible.  It’s like they started this album with a blank slate, as exemplified by the album’s catchy opener, “Burned Bridges.” You hear them having fun.  They each play their positions without going overboard.  They’ve learned the power in restraint and, I suspect, they don’t feel the need to prove what badasses they all are.  They are, and they know it. They’ve settled into just being.  It’s sorta like when Morpheus says of Neo, “He’s beginning to believe.”

And maybe this is all the result of maturity—they all went out, found mates, had families, another form of rootedness—and their having been reunited for nearly 10 years and constantly playing together during that time.  Whatever the case, it all comes together on this album: Good songs wrapped in rock, metal, funk and blues. 

My other favorites: The introspective “Method”; the electric blues romp that is “Bless Those”; the anthemic “Taught Me.” And stick around for the fun ghost track “Asshole.”

If you don’t own a Living Colour album, use this one to start your collection.

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  • Hey Rob,

    Just wanted to say that this is a great review, and that I’ve been listening to one of their oldies “Pride” a lot these days. For all the crap that’s going on right now, the lyrics to that song seem appropriate.