Album review: THREE COLOURS DARK – The Science Of Goodbye

THREE COLOURS DARK - The Science Of Goodbye [Release date 27.03.20]

In downtime in his Panic Room/Luna Rossa schedule, keyboard maestro Jonathan Edwards has revisited his roots in pairing up once again with fellow Karnataka founding member Rachel Cohen.

Following casual reminiscence just over 12 months ago the duo decided to rekindle song writing together and The Science Of Goodbye is the result – nine new songs plus a cover of Richard Thompson’s ‘Ghosts In The Wind’.  It’s Cohen’s first studio recording since The Reasoning’s Adventures In Neverland album in 2012.

Completing the Three Colours Dark ‘line-up’ is multi-instrumentalist Tim Hamill who’s become an integral part of Luna Rossa, here – as well as recording and mixing – contributing electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar and drum programming.

And in many ways, Three Colours Dark is conceptually an extension of the Luna Rossa format – for the most part, a gentle, contemplative, and often folk influenced affair, with a number of guest musicians contributing telling cameo performances.

‘Enter, Soubrette’ opens proceedings with choral, almost hymnal qualities, Edwards’ keys meandering gently, with Cohen’s folk infused vocals floating ethereally and Kate Roconi’s haunting violin adding other worldly tones, while ‘(Wonderland) How Can This Be Love?’ picks up the pace, featuring some lovely, understated lead guitar work from Hamill, and with Steve Balsamo (Chimpan A/The Storys) adding some sublime duetted chorus and harmony vocals.

‘Know You Now’, and ‘Tasted Like Kryptonite’ are typical Luna Rossa fare with Edwards’ delicate piano lines underpinning Cohen’s celestial vocals, the former featuring some particularly impressively jazz lines from Nathan Bray (flugelhorn and trumpet), while the atmospheric ‘Ghosts In The Wind’ is an album highlight – its gorgeous melody permeated by some subtle playing from Dave Gregory (XTC/Big Big Train) using a 1963 Guild Duane Eddy guitar.

‘Three Colours Dark’, ‘Rainbow’s End’, and ‘Blood Moon Rising’ all echo Annie Lennox at her finest, mid-tempo, solo career balladry.  More splendid violin from Ronconi on ‘Rainbow’s End’ provides the perfect counterpoint to Edward’s tantalizing piano lines giving the piece an almost ‘Poldark’ clifftop feel, while Chantel McGregor’s soulful blues guitar provide the perfect complement to his iconic organ work on ‘Blood Moon Rising’.

As if to prove they can ‘rock out’, ‘Monster’, while not exactly ‘kicking out the jams’, ups the ante unleashing a powerful, brooding, number – which wouldn’t be out of place in a Panic Room or The Reasoning set – that builds to a tumultuous climax, while ‘The Science Of Goodbye’ wraps things up in more typical piano, violin, and acoustic guitar style.

While Edwards’ impeccable talents are well catalogued, Three Colours Dark provides a platform for Cohen to shine, and while lyrically the album deals with the sombre subject matter of her experience and recovery from narcissistic abuse, it’s clearly been both a cathartic and empowering project.  Let’s hope it’s the first chapter of many.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Album review (Luna Rossa, 2018)

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