Blind Faith – Black (Nero Schwarz) reviewed by Dave Franklin

BlindFaithIt is probably fair to say that the level of commercial success indicated by such early singles as Sweetest Smile and Wonderful Life failed to materialise for Colin Vearncombe even if critical appreciation did. And whilst Colin, and possibly at times his bank manager, may take issue with the situation, I think that creatively it is a much preferable scenario. Today’s blinkered record label executive looking for  three chartable singles per album or chasing Wonderful Life part two, could only be a shackle to the creativity and individuality that has become the hallmark of the man and his music. The pledge campaign that enabled Blind Faith may not be the most lucrative vehicle but the resulting album pays massive musical dividends.

Blind Faith is an exercise in restraint, the guitar work of long-term associate and album co-writer, Calum MacColl, forms wonderful structures, sonic bubbles that often do little more than frame the songs allowing atmosphere and anticipation to undertake the lions share of the work. The rhythms and back-beats support and steer the songs rather than invade their space and even Mikey Rowe’s keyboards exist just on the edge of earshot. If awards were handed out for tranquillity, this would get the Nobel Peaceful Prize.

Colin’s voice has always had the hallmarks of an earlier age, especially on the sweeping, slower paced numbers, it is in these grander moments that the old school crooner presents himself, Good Liar piles on lush orchestral textures and Beautiful truly lives up to its name. Everything comes together perfectly on current single Ashes of Angels, a lilting slice of late night poeticism that may actually unwittingly be the catalyst that brings his music back to a wider, more mainstream audience given the right radio support.

Prophets may be without honour in their own land, profits may also be similarly elusive, but I think that anything that compromises the outstandingly gorgeous music that Colin Vearncombe makes under the name Black, is something the world can do without.

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4 comments

  1. […] It follows the post-Japan careers of David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri, Rob Dean, Steve Jansen and Mick Karn, taking in Sylvian’s work for his first three solo albums, The Dolphin Brothers, Dali’s Car with Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy, the brilliant but ill-feted album they released under the name Rain Tree Crow, and more besides. The book also explores David Sylvian’s collaborations with Holger Czukay and Ryuichi Sakamoto, the latter of which resulted in their epic ‘Forbidden Colours’, which  featured on the soundtrack album of the hit film ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’. And as expected there is no shortage of contributions from the likes of Johnny Marr, Ivo-Watts Russell and Simon Raymonde to Bill Bruford, Thomas Dolby and the late Colin Vernecombe. […]

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