Sunday, February 02, 2014


Living Colour defied all preordained musical conventions in their heyday, with nary a care for straitjacketed industry principles that threaten to pigeonhole them in one given genre or another. When the four New Yorkers first emerged in the mid-1980s, clueless record executives were flabbergasted as to what to do with them. On the one hand, all four members of the band were African-Americans, so they should, according to blinkered industry logic, slot neatly into one of the established “black” music categories, e.g. soul, R&B or rap. However, Living Colour performed a unique blend of rock that merged elements of so-called “black” music types with wildly disparate genres like hardcore punk, art-rock, and even avant-garde jazz into a seamless whole. Check out a stellar example of the archetypal Living Colour sound in the regimented, lock-step aggression of 'Type', a brutally efficient display of overdubbed guitar firepower that is perfectly suited for its denunciatory lyrical message targeting social apathy, political hubris and crass consumerism. Check out a brilliantly executed and pertinently forceful live rendition at the Montreux Jazz Festival.


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