The band's name Three Colours Dark is a new name for me, but the names of the musicians are very familiar. Three Colours Dark is the new project of singer/songwriter Rachel Cohen with musician/songwriter Jonathan Edwards. Now those names you may recognise from folk-neo proggers Karnataka. In the early 2000s they were both in this band, later exploring other endeavours, Rachel in The Reasoning and Jonathan playing with Panic Room and Luna Rossa.
Now they are back together and present the debut album The Science Of Goodbye, released in March 2020. After pressing play, the first thing that strikes the listener are the lead vocals that remind of Annie Haslam or Jon Anderson of Yes. Very much so. I played the album to a friend who thought it was a new release by Yes! And not only regarding the vocals, also musically one could in fact compare Three Colours Dark to a sweet version of Yes or a poppy version of Renaissance.
Here is also the main trouble with the album... Sometimes,maybe the music is a bit too sweet. This is a problem that I also had with the early Karnataka albums - beautiful music, but after a while I long after some dissonance and tension, so then it's good when at least some power is added as Three Colours Dark do in Wonderland, or when jazzy elements appear on other tracks, such as the muted trumpet (Nathan Bray) in the closing section of Know You Now. But don't judge too fast. Play the album more often and listen closely and you will find much more depth under the initial impression of a “sweet” album. Take for example opener Enter, Soubrette. Although this is quite gentle, it has a really nice tension with an underlying minor key that appeals to me. I also like the violin (Kate Ronconi) that adds touches. I already mentioned Know You Now with some trumpet adding some good variation in the sound. But... did I hear the F-word there?! That really is a bit out of tune, ha ha.
One of the other pieces that I really like is Ghosts In The Wind which in line with its title is very dreamy and meandering.
Another favourite of mine is Blood Moon Rising with a lovely organ part, followed by a guitar solo and a soulful ending with lower-ranged female vocals that remind me of Annie Lennox (ex-Eurythmics). The Science Of Goodbye provides a great uplifting and lively closing track ending a beautiful album.
I hope that the band adds some edge to a future release, but does not lose their enchanting sound either.
***+ Carsten (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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