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The Chair In The Doorway by Living Colour

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Reviewed on 29th October 2009.


The Chair In The Doorway

By Living Colour

Is it better to be a jack of all trades, or a master of one?

Throughout their 25 year history, Living Colour have tried their hands at Metal, Punk, Jazz and Hip-Hop, and with their latest effort, 'The Chair In The Doorway,' they still haven't settled for one genre.

Back in 1988 their hit single 'Cult of Personality' won the New Yorkers' international acclaim and a Grammy Award, and they've been trying to repeat that success with their sporadic releases ever since. But it's hard to be a memorable band without the memorable songs.

On the new record there's much to be proud of - there's plenty of energy and instrumental intricacies - but when it's all over there's not a lot that sticks in the mind. Every song sounds like it could be a cover version of any band that's made a name for themselves over the past two decades.

'Hard Times' sounds a lot like their funk-rock rivals Faith No More, and 'Out Of My Mind' was probably a leftover from Guns N Roses' 'Appetite For Destruction' sessions, but there can be no excuse for the shameless lifting of the riff from The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' on the track 'Young Man.' I mean, it's as close as you can come without breaching the copyright. The only difference is that there appears to be samples of the 'Cha Cha Slide' lumped into the chorus.

To Living Colour's credit, the record certainly doesn't sound dated. Singer Corey Glover's voice is back to its best, after failing him somewhat on 2003's dreadful 'Collideoscope' album- which featured the worst version of 'Back In Black' ever recorded - and 1993's slightly less dreadful 'Stain.' Here, the production is crisp and clear, and the recent resurgence of the wailing guitar solo is in evidence on every track.

If anything, it's guitar solo overkill, although even that is eclipsed by the tide of electronic samples that sweeps over the whole 40-minute duration. Album opener 'Burned Bridges' kicks in with a looped dance beat and various swirling effects and there's no letting-up until the final seconds of the final track 'Not Tomorrow,' as the electronic backing track fades into the distance.

Some would hail this a return to form - after all, it's nearly 20 years since the band released a good album - but in reality every song here has been done better by somebody else.



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