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Monday, November 10, 2014

Three Colors - s/t

Name: Three Colors
Album: s/t
Year: 1985
Style: College Alternaive, Jam
Simialar Bands: Mission of Burma, mid-period XTC, Billy Ocean, Talking Heads, World Party, Live
"One-Word" Review: 80's Stylized Meek Jam Band
Based Out Of: Boston, MA
 Three Colors - Cover / Record
 Three Colors - Back / Insert
 Three Colors - Record / Insert
Three Colors - s/t (1985)
  1. One Big Tree 3:51
  2. Bowling Ball 3:11
  3. Curious One 4:10
  4. Next 4:12
  5. Rise Out of Nothing 2:30
  6. Red Room 2:55
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Chris Harford - Guitar, Vox, Drawing (Band of Changes, Ween, Jimmy Wilson Group, Hyperjinx Tricycle, Holly & The Italians, Mark Mulcachy, The Saras, HUB)
Hub Moore - Bass, Vox, Artwork (HUB, The Saras, Chris Harford) 
Dana Colley - Sax, Harmonica (Morphine, Treat Her Right, Chris Harford, Twinemen)
Barry Stringfellow - Drums
Max Moore - Keys, Vox, Artwork (Juryman, Spacer)
Paul Q Kolderie - Producer (Sex Execs)
William Garrett - Mixing
Linda Sullivan - Management
Ali Moore - Artwork
Chris Bergan - Artwork
Dave Johnson - Artwork
Peter "Sticks" McCarty - Artwork
Greg Calbi - Mastering
Thom Moore - Mixing, Recording (You Got It)
Bill Smythe - Photography 
Craig MacCormack - Photography 
Ian Churchill  - Photography 
James Harford Sr.  - Photography
Ms. Donna - Photography
Sean Slade - Producer (Uncle Tupelo)

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But from the cover and the back pictures, I’d imagine this to be some post punk band. I like the action and energy of the cover image, and the simplistic 3 color boxes as a name/logo is also pretty simple and attractive. With no year on the cover/back made me a little wary, but at 6 songs, it was not a big commitment.

Album Review: Upon seeing the band members, I had high expectations for this album. I’ve already been a fan of Chris Harford through Ween, and I have a couple of Hub’s solo albums. Then to find out one of the members went on to form the prestigious Morphine, I bit. This was recorded at Fort Apache, by one member from a previous TSM entry, the Sex Execs, who were a great band in their own right. But the album falls victim to its time, and comes off as representative of an archaic time in music history, rather than a set of songs that holds up over to today.

“One Big Tree” is the self-released single that starts the album off with a bit of a late-period Talking Heads vibe. It has a suppressed vibe, but is distinctly 80’s in production, horns, and pseudo-Caribbean style. The song lacks a specific structure, and does bring to mind other elements of Murmur/Big Express XTC.
“Bowling Ball” begins with loungey period sax. While this might have been en vogue at the time, it is, today quite dated, and stylistically inferior. The underlying vocal melody is good and catchy, but the production choices draw attention away.
“Curious One” is a slower, slinking song, which balances the atmosphere the music creates with appropriate curious lyrics. By the chorus, the song enters jam band territory with a Kenny G era appropriate solo.

“Next” Starts off with a rather basic drum beat and occasional bass accompaniments. Bored “La La La’s” are added, and a jammy, repetitive guitar riff starts. The song has a good energy to it, but it enters more Dave Matthews band territory than I’d ever care to follow. The harmonized vocals in the chorus seal the deal of satisfactory song production. And I think that is it…the songs have promise and good qualities, but the manner of which they are presented does not add luster.
“Rise Out of Nothing” starts off with a sleepy, lazy melody, and never evolves past this. There is a bit of forced energy but it is unwarranted, and it feels like a bad Live song.
“Red Room” starts with a bit of fun “Save It For Later” English Beat chord changes, and is followed up with Harmonica, and the building verse leads to the most catchy power pop chorus. The meekness / politeness of the vocals sucks the energy and motivation behind the energy the music is trying to generate. It feels too polished and smooth, in a bad way. But the song is by far, with its progressive chord and tempo shifts, the album's star for my tastes.

Stand Out Track: Red Room

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