Album review: THREE COLOURS DARK – Love’s Lost Property

THREE COLOURS DARK - Love's Lost Property

Firefly Music [Release date 10.09.21]

2020 marked the musical reunion of Rachel Cohen and Jonathan Edwards founder members of long-standing prog rockers Karnataka.  In the hiatus following The Reasoning (Cohen) and Panic Room (Edwards) they released an exquisite debut and 18 months later comes the follow-up.  Aided by prog luminaries such as Dave Gregory (XTC), Steve Balsamo (The Storys, Chimpan A) and Tim Hamill (who also produces) and augmented with saxophone (Steve Simmons), violin (Kate Ronconi) and oboe (Catherine Tanner-Williams).

This album is yet another example of two talented musicians in cottage industry mode making fine music without any apparent big time pretensions.  Sadly, in this covid addled age, a wider audience is unlikely to transpire. And Three Colours Dark will remain niche and, frankly, a guilty pleasure.

With Cohen the lyricist, my goodness she must have been wronged in love judging by these tunes.  It’s a theme that was evident on the debut, and if listeners wish to pursue such matters of the heart there is even a helpful reading list in the booklet.

With Panic Room seemingly on the back burner for the moment, (and always it appeared searching for the right guitar player with Dave Foster somewhat exposed on their live album/DVD) Three Colours Dark is a great vehicle for Jon Edwards.

In that band, especially live,  he was always prepared to let others into the spotlight, his own keyboard rig and professorial pate usually shrouded in darkness.  He is a tasteful and thoughtful player.  And here, once again, happy for Rachel – and everyone else – to take centre stage.

The title track sums up the quality feel to this latest release with Dave Gregory’s tasteful guitar interjections and with Cohen’s melliferous vocals always the dominant feature.

A folksy hue permeates ‘Wish I Wished You Well’ and ‘The Circus’ courtesy of Ronconi’s violin, the latter’s yearning rhythm reminding of Elton John’s ‘Love Song’ (and Lesley Duncan’s ace cover).  And, talking of covers, the duo also repeat the formula of their debut with their take on Duran Duran’s ‘Ordinary World’.

And let’s not forget Edwards’ other side project, Luna Rossa, who have produced some exquisite albums of their own and are a close reference point.  The latest in the Edwards canon is just as spell-binding.  ****

Review by David Randall

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Featured Albums w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MEMORIA AVENUE Memoria Avenue (Frontiers)
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14:00-16:00 HANNAH JAMES & TOBY KUHN Sleeping Spirals (Jigdoll Records)

Power Plays w/c 15 November 2021 (Mon-Fri)

THE FORGOTTEN Interstellar (FiXT Noir)
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DEAD REYNOLDS Uninspired (The Fort)
CAVALCADE Dreaming About (Golden Robot)
HANNAH ALDRIDGE Sinking (indie)
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