Photo: Travis Shinn

Living Colour: Shade

Funky hard rock veterans still own the block and knock socks off.
Living Colour

Living Colour is a legendary band at this point, and it is a big loss for anyone who sleeps on or underestimates their latest release Shade. Musical proficiency has always been a hallmark of the popular group, but the songwriting is even stronger than the tricky and stylish guitar licks and bass runs. Golden-throated vocalist Corey Glover, like the late Ronnie James Dio or, say, Jill Janus of heavy metal band Huntress, often sounds like he could roll out of bed and still belt out a perfectly rocking and on point soulful blast to thousands of people. There is also, like sometimes peers Jane’s Addiction or Pearl Jam, a sense of melody present in the songs that adds a range of emotion rock bands strictly looking to be the darkest or edgiest on the block often miss out on. You can have a range of feelings from any Living Colour record and come away truly rocked no matter the flavor that appeals to you most.

Vernon Reid shred fans will still be blown away by the handsome application of searing solos peppered throughout the latest banger of an album. There is a reason Reid was once nerded out over by Guitar Center geeks with the same level of respect they have for the great Marty Friedman or Steve Vai.

Frankly, Shade sounds like the band is still ruling the world, such is their confidence and skill level here. It might not be 1989 when Living Colour was big enough Reid could criticize Axl Rose for slurs in “One in a Million”, and it would be major news (especially with the Guns reunion tour making so much money that if it happened now in Trump USA the fickle and fake ass industry would work really hard to make people forget about it fast), but Living Colour still swing for the fences and mostly hit home runs with each track on the new release, even if Mick Jagger doesn’t sing (back-up!!) vocals on this one like Time’s Up .

“Come On” almost combines Prince’s futuristic streetwise funk rock with the hard rock glory at which Living Colour always has excelled. The bass from Doug Wimbish on “Come On” in particular is subtly commanding, though it is kind of Vernon’s number for the most part.