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The Chair in the Doorway

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★★★★½
(25 Reviews)

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Living Colour will release their first new studio album in five years entitled The Chair In The Doorway on September 15 via Megaforce Records. Living Colour formed in NYC and still contains the original members Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun and (since 1993) Doug Wimbish. The legendary downtown NYC rock band, who exploded out of CBGB’s in the late ’80s and landed all over MTV, the cover of Rolling Stone and stadium stages around the world with their Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum debut album Vivid, are back and ”fierce” as ever. The band gathered at Sono Studios outside of Prague in The Czech Republic during the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 to write and record what would become The Chair In The Doorway. The results stretch from the modern soul anthem ”Behind The Sun” to the politically-charged, heavy rock of ”DecaDance to the sacred steel blues of ”Bless Those. The artwork for The Chair In The Doorway was compiled from thousands of contest entries by fans from around the world.”We feel like this is the best record we’ve made yet and we couldn’t be more excited to be releasing it with the legendary Megaforce Records,” says guitarist Vernon Reid. ”Some of our favorite bands were or are Megaforce artists, Metallica, Bad Brains, Anthrax, Black Crowes, so it’s an honor to be part of a label with a great legacy.” Living Colour will announce plans for a world tour shortly. With dates set to begin in September, it will include their first North American tour in four years along with performances in South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.Having helped to pave the way for a number of contemporary African-American artists to follow in their wake, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Lenny Kravitz to Ben Harper, with a multi-dimensional sound that drew equally from Jimi Hendrix, Bad Brains, Talking Heads and Ornette Coleman, the success of Living Colour broke down the color barriers in rock music. Guitarist and founding member Vernon Reid also founded the Black Rock Coalition to use his influence to further this cause. Discovered by Mick Jagger who produced their first demo and later offered them an opening slot with The Rolling Stones, Living Colour would go on to create a repertoire that includes a multitude of classic songs, including ”Cult Of Personality,” ”Elvis Is Dead,” ”Open Letter To A Landlord,” ”Glamour Boys” and ”Love Rears Its Ugly Head.” With The Chair In The Doorway, the fifth album of their storied career, Living Colour expands the scope of their timeless body of work and, in the process, proves vital as ever.

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  • Living Colour is one of the most unappreciated great bands. From their debut, Vivid, through Time’s Up (in my opinion their masterpiece), and Stain, they were a versatile, extraordinary fusion of funk, hard-rock, and a whole lot in between. I was very pleased when they reunited some years back and came out with Collideoscope – and The Chair in the Doorway is an even better album.

    Though firmly entrenched in hard rock, some of the eclecticism of their earlier albums has returned. I particularly like songs like “Young Man” and “Bless Those,” which marry great beats with Reid’s still-amazing guitar work. Corey Glover’s at his best when he can let loose on a great melody, and there’s no shortage of those here as well.

    20+ years after Vivid, Living Colour’s still going strong.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Six years after the good but poorly produced Collideoscope, Living Colour is back with an exceptional release. The Chair in the Doorway is by far the best album I’ve heard this year. It is also the band’s best release since Time’s Up. In a way, it could their most cohesive work, as every song seems to speak to the others. Every song is a killer but the albums works even better as whole: it is more than the sum of its parts. The sound is heavy as usual (Decadance and Out of my Mind are particularly agressive), but there is room for melody and groove. One of Living Colour’s main virtues is their ability to combine musicianship and experimentation with a strong pop sensibility. That balance is very present in this album, especially in songs like Burned Bridges, That’s what you taught me and first single Behind the Sun, which features one of Vernon Reid’s most mesmerizing riffs (a tapped arpeggio that will drive guitar players nuts). The arrangements are complex and intrincate, it takes several listens to get all the details. The exception is Bless Those, a delicious mix of blues, rock and funk that features simply the band playing live in the studio (with Vernon playing some mean slide guitar). The band is incredibly inspired in this album, especially Corey Glover, who gives us a handful of mesmerizing performances. This is the album all Living Colour fans have been waiting. I highly recommend it to every music fan on the planet. What’s your favorite colour? LIVING COLOUR!!

    Posted on March 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I mean it. I never review albums but I love this record. Defo the best Living Colour record since Vivid.

    I surprised I have not heard much news on this band as they have produced a gret record an should really do well from it.

    The sounds is very Living Colour and its different to whats out there in a good way. It sounds fresh, rocks and has a heart.

    Posted on March 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • In all honesty, I’d probably give this one more like 3.5 stars, but I’m rounding up to 4 instead of down to 3 for two reasons: first, a band this great just deserves it. This is one seriously talented and under-rated band that’s delivered a lot of incredible music over the last 20+ years! And second, I’ve only listened a couple of times, and just like their last two albums (1993’s “Stain” and 2003’s “Collideoscope”) I’m sure this one will grow on me after a few more listens.

    Which is not to say it’s not GOOD (it is!), but I still find LC’s first two albums to be unquestionably their best. Vivid (1988) and Time’s Up (1990) had such tremendous variety in sound and style and yet through all of both of them flowed the band’s signature sound while giving us many of their best songwriting efforts. “Stain” in 1993 saw them get mega-heavy and rely on an almost industrial metal sound with mixed results, but it was still a mostly solid effort with some really great tracks (“Nothingness” might be the best thing they’ve ever recorded).

    And most people will think that brings us to this new record, but they did put out an album in 2003 when they reformed after temporarily disbanding in 1995. It was called “Collideoscope”, and while the production on that one is questionable, the songs and performances are not (although I could have done without the cover of AC/DC’s “Back In Black”). For any fans of the band that didn’t realize they were back, “Collideoscope” is recommended even though the guys in the band tend to dismiss it in interviews as “rushed” and “un-focused”. I think it might be better than “Stain” and possibly better than their latest release as well…

    Which does bring us to “The Chair In The Doorway”. This is a more commercial sounding record than “Stain” and is definitely a better recorded, mixed and produced album than “Collideoscope,” but song-wise, it still falls short of their best work. However, “less-than-their-best” from Living Colour is still pretty damn good. This is a real live rock and roll band not afraid to vary their sound and push some boundaries, and with plenty of musical muscle to pull it off. In this day and age, that is increasingly difficult to find, so on that alone, this cd is worth exploring if you’re into hard rock that’s not afraid to incorporate other styles as well.

    “Behind The Sun” takes a great groove and nice repeated guitar lick from Vernon Reid to deliver a song that approaches greatness, but lyrically and melodically, I don’t think the song ever quite fully takes off. “Bless Those” is a song I believe performed in concert going a year or more back and originally sung by bassist Doug Wimbish, but the vocals on the recorded version found here are turned over to lead singer Corey Glover which greatly improves this track.

    My personal fave is “Young Man”, which is musically agressive, yet with a groove, and incorporates a brief borrowing from “Cha Cha Slide” by Mr. C! (move to the left… now back to the right!). Interesting choice, but it works to remind us that while Living Colour are incredibly talented musicians who are intelligent and not afraid to write songs with a message, music is also meant to be fun, and this little insertion shows that Living Colour haven’t forgotten that.

    I won’t go on with a track-by-track description, but suffice to say if you’re already a Living Colour fan, this is another solid effort you’ll want to add to your collection. If you’re not a fan (or you like them but only know them from their radio hits like “Cult of Personality,” “Glamour Boys,” “Type” or “Love Rears Its Ugly Head”), this album is still recommended, although I would explore “Vivid” or “Time’s Up” first if you don’t already have those. Both are available used for dirt cheap here on Amazon and are among the best albums from ANY band over the last 20 years.

    Regardless of which cd’s you do or don’t have, check this band out live if you get the chance. They are on tour in 2009 and they deliver the goods each and every night with a nice cross-section of their best songs from all of their albums.

    Posted on March 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • How did this happen? Where did THIS come from, and do we deserve it?

    No…we don’t.

    I love this band, and you do too. This collection of songs has been put together over the years in many studios in many countries with songs co-written by many people over a period of time when nobody was thinking of them. Sneak attack. I feel like a 10 year-old on the playground that just got suckerpunched by a girl who liked me-shocked, and pleased…

    The songs…you have the riffs, the beats, the soul…there is a STRONG emphasis on SONGS here…Vernon keeps his much-loved SKRONK to a minimum…and to SUPERIOR effect. Corey sounds truly AWESOME, while Doug and Will lay the foundation down SOLID.

    Long story short-for me, this is a record I continue to return to time and again…4 plays in one day by a guy with thousands of cds (yeah, I still buy those plastic things…call me a luddite).

    Living Colour in 2009…who knew??? The production is warm and fuzzy, and the vibe is anything BUT funny…(sorry). The sound of great musicians getting together when the feeling is right…and getting it right.

    Woulda been 5 stars…but come on…”Time’s Up” only happens once a career, if at ALL.

    Thanks again Will, Corey, Doug and Vernon…you still got it, BIG TIME.

    P.S.-The BONUS TRACK? It’s about me.

    Posted on March 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now