other convenient tag had been patronisineg attached to negro pop j music. Like Prince. though by radically different musical means. Living Colour confronted the American musical canon with the inadequacies of its complacent. l pigeonholing tendencies. Their second long player. last
September‘s Time's Up. was a less vitriolic but equally vehement affair and marked a considerable musical progression from the debut; whereas the million-selling Vivid was | predominantly a ‘rock‘ album.
Time‘s Up is. according to one enthusiastic reviewer. a ‘freak funk-metal and jazzy" soundscape. The awesome vocal-gymnastics of singer Corey Glover. showcased on the last chart single Love Rears [15 Ugly Head. weld the whole range of musical inputs together. and the end-result is a stunning amalgam of energy and zest. Well. that‘s what I— and the other hoards who helped make the album a gold disc— think. The band are a tad less. erm. enthusiastic.
‘Hmm. To us. Time‘s Up is just
page two in the Living Colour story.‘ claims the band‘s bassist (and
onetime would-be fireman ‘for the heroic factor‘) Muzz Skillings
soberly. It‘s 8am in the Big Apple.
and he sounds half-asleep. certainly sober. ‘I definitely wouldn‘t say it
was just funky. It‘s a mix ofwhatever was on our minds at the time. Some tracks. like the title track. to me rock l harder than anything on Vivid. We‘re just a rock band. basically. if
you want a label for it. Ask me what
my day-job is. and I‘ve got to say ‘rock musician‘.‘
But perhaps it‘s the undeniably ‘political‘ element freely residing in Living Colour‘s art which makes everything they‘ve done so much more vital than your average rawk attempts at aural seduction or demonic mythmaking. Time’s Up may have been a less confrontational record than Vivid. but. containing songs about ecological ignorance (Time’s Up). drug dealing (New Jack Theme), safe sex (Under Cover Of Darkness) and black dignity (Pride). it‘s as ideologically sound as ever.
‘Well.‘ Muzz contends. ‘the political thing is a tricky one. Someone can look at what we do and pronounce it ‘political‘ when all we‘re doing is relating things that go on in our lives. I can talk about howl couldn‘t get a cab to come to this interview. because nobody would stop for me due to the way I look. ls that black pride. or just my life? All I‘m doing is telling you what happened to me this afternoon. whereas. later. people will hear that song and say ‘Wow. that‘s just so political. . .‘ I sometimes find myself in wonder ofwhat people will read into our songs but. then again. if someone can relate to a point that we‘ve — even unconsciously - put in there. then that’s gotta be a good thing. Everybody approaches music with their own emotional baggage;
maybe we just give them more places
to rest it.‘
No matter how the members may play down their importance as soapbox-preachers. their collective
humanist stance — their ‘politics‘. for want of a better term — has alerted people to the group‘s existence who otherwise may not have had much time for a bestubbled. long-haired. paisley-shirt wearing rock outfit. It took them three years ofsolid touring. plus the assistance ofone Mick Jagger (who lugged their tapes around company offices) before the Colour crew secured a deal. Since then, ofcourse. they’ve hardly looked back but. as Muzz admits. they‘re still having to earn as much respect as they are being given unguarded praise.
‘Yeah. it‘s funny. Maybe on this tour it‘ll finally be different. but up till now we‘ve always been at the stage where the majority of the . audience at our gigs is there out of curiosity. There‘s a hard-core posse
up at the front. but we‘re still largely preaching to the unconverted.’
It‘s early days yet. as Muzz admits.
but maybe the band‘s drummer. Will . Calhoun. who claims to have had several personal visitations from
God. could do something about the
‘Yeah. we could always see. He has a massive pyramid that he erects over his drumkit. It has some kind of spiritual significance. I think that‘s got something to do with his having met God a few times. I‘ve still yet to see him in the audience though. Maybe I‘m just not looking hard enoughf
Who knows? Like Living Colour. it‘s more than worth thinking about.
Living Colourplay the Barrowland. | Glasgow on Mon 27.
PREVIEW MUSIG V SINGLES
I The Mighty Lemon Drops: Too High (Sire) Great to see the Wolverhampton boys back after being dropped by Chrysalis, but ‘Too High‘ is hardly likely to increase their proﬁle in the UK. As usual it‘s a lurching guitar monster with one ofthosc cotton-pickin‘. finger- lickin‘ choruses and the usual crap lyrics. Thankfully. our American cousins go for that sort of thing and The Mighty Lemon Drops won‘t give a damn what we think ofit. (111) I Deacon Blue: Your Swaying Anns (Columbia) Deacon Blue have recently expressed a wish to get back to the splendid textures of Raintown. and although ‘Your Swaying Arms‘ would be the perfect soundtrack to a soft drink advert. it‘sa return to the things the band do best. It drips with sentimentality. but after those clumping When The World Knows Your Name singles. it‘s aural relief. (AM) I We Free Kings: Howl EP (Avalanche) On which We Free Kings try to erase the folkie comparisons once and for all and underline what they‘ve been saying all along: that they‘re a rock band. Despite a solitary fiddle. they sound like a different group. and. ironically. less convincing rockers than before. They haven‘t yet found anything to replace the famous WFK frenzy. which seems to have been chucked out with the acoustic strings. (AM) I Kirsty MacColl: Walking Down Madison (Virgin) From penthouse to rat-infested basement. ‘it‘s not that far‘. No. indeed. but it‘s a long way to the nearest chip shop. Johnny Marr contributes a hack rhythm track that the song struggles hard to recover from. Daft. but lovable. (AM)
I Curve: Frozen EP (Anxious) Jings. but this packs a wallop. and shows up nine-tenths ofthe indie-dance brigade for
the ﬂaccid bunch they are. Fora groupthat‘s inevitably going to be lumped in with the monosyllabicBleach/Blur i wave. Curve have the l sense to make sure the bottom end of their sound throbs mightily. lfMy Bloody Valentine decided f they wanted a club hit. it i might sound a little bit like this. (AM)
The—List 17} 30 May 199145