Review: Three Colours Dark – Loves’s Lost Property
Firefly Music/Burning Shed (September 10th 2021)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
Last year, I reviewed ‘The Science Of Goodbye’ for Fireworks magazine, and it was far and away my favourite album of 2020, nothing else came remotely close, and it’s still an album I play pretty much weekly. Then, last week, to my absolute joy, I discovered the band was back with this absolutely dazzling release – and guess what? As a result, I’ve discovered my album of the year for 2021!
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Three Colours Dark, they are two ex-members of the classic incarnation of Karnataka: Rachel Cohen (vocals) and Jonathan Edwards (keyboards). Rachel also fronted The Reasoning, while Jonathan belongs to The Panic Room, which also features other ex-Karnataka members including Anne-Marie Helder.
Rachel and Jonathan are joined this time by Tim Hamill (guitars/bass guitars/drum programming), and a selection of guests, who have helped shape this utterly beautiful album: Steve Balsamo (vocals), Andrew ‘Wal’ Coughlan (double bass), Dave Gregory (guitars), Kate Ronconi (violin), Steve Simmons (tenor saxophone), and Catherine Tanner-Williams (oboe).
I honestly didn’t think the achingly beautiful ‘The Science Of Goodbye’ could be bettered, but somehow the dynamic duo have achieved that feat, and the end result here is simply sublime. There are honestly not enough superlatives to throw at ‘Love’s Lost Property’, every aspect of it is enthralling. Perhaps an early surprise is a truly breath-taking cover of Duran Duran’s timeless ‘Ordinary Day’, where Rachel’s gorgeous vocal lifts the song even further than the already remarkable original – it just has the instant ‘Wow Factor’.
This band is not just about Rachel’s voice though, Jonathan’s rich and textured keyboards are what allows her to soar vocally, the two between them have a truly amazing musical chemistry. Their music is not just Progressive Rock though, it is equal parts mesmerising and beautiful Melodic Rock, few bands manage to make this fusion work, but Three Colours Dark make it sound seamlessly easy.
From the very opening chords of the title track, you are pulled into a world of extraordinary musical and lyrical beauty, somehow it aurally cossets you, enveloping you in its delicate web of wonder … yes, I’m enthralled by every aspect of this album, and I have found myself revisiting it repeatedly. The lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking, inviting you to examine their meaning – which is always refreshing, and coming from Rachel’s divine voice, it’s never a challenge to lose yourself in them.
Tim Hamill provides endless wonderful lead guitar work, it’s never over busy, always elegant and tasteful, providing the perfect feel for every song, no matter the context. It’s the subtlety offered by all the musicians that makes this so perfect, their performances are never overstated or overly fussy, and the result is musical perfection.
There are so many highlights, it feels churlish to pick any for any individual praise. ‘Requiem’ is exquisite – nothing short of mesmerizing – a piano led piece of aural refinement, with a gentle oboe melody line by Catherine Tanner-Williams, Jonathan Edwards’ keyboard playing is refined and played with real feel. ‘Wish I Wished You Well’ is another hauntingly poignant number, again piano led with a shining vocal from Rachel, counterpointed by a sweetly smooth violin lead by Kate Ronconi, it’s a truly heartfelt and bittersweet song, with a message I think many of us who have suffered heartache can relate to.
‘Love’s Lost Property’ is nothing short of absolute perfection, Jonathan Edwards and Rachel Cohen have created something genuinely spectacular. If this album doesn’t touch you in some way, then you really must have a dead heart and soul. Albums this remarkable are few and far between, and if you buy nothing else this year, I urge you to buy this … it is a Magnum Opus that demands your attention throughout, it is a true Masterclass in just how good REAL music can and should be! Just buy it!