Wake Up – Colorvine (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Bandy around the term pop-rock and the mind initially goes to some sort of middle of the road, fashion-driven dross that neither delivers the immediacy of the former nor the integrity of the later. But what if there was a way of taking the instant hook and inherent melody of a pop approach and weld it onto a driving, urgent and robust rock vehicle? Surely anyone who could do that would be carried head high through the streets, would be called saviours, the rainmakers of this current music drought, would be regarded as heroes and brave cross-genre gene splicers of the modern musical age. Or if you are looking for a more modest title you could just call them Colorvine.

Victory Song is the obvious place to start, about as groovesome and addictive as you can get, a real blend of boogie beats and contagious sing-along lyrics, if this is the sound of a band who are back after a twenty year break they show no sign of loosing their musical chops. They say that a change is as good as a rest but in the case of Colorvine this rest seems to have brought them back both hungry and energised and brilliantly focused as songwriters.

Radio days drips with nostalgia but does so with positive reflection rather than just dwelling too melancholically about the glory days, Smoke is a gentle ballad filled with understated anthemic qualities and opening salvo Like A Rocket is the perfect kick-off point showcasing nicely their blend of power and poise. A nice touch is that the title track itself leans towards the latter end of this spectrum, a deft blend of ambience, acoustica and space with just enough backbeat and balls to keep things moving along nicely.

As I said at the start of this piece, it is a real shame that the term pop-rock comes with such unfortunate baggage and suggests compromise rather than conglomeration because it is just such a melding of infectious pop hooks and driving rock weight that Wake Up is built on. Okay, it is much more a rock album than a pop one but somewhere within their effortless ability to write memorable guitar lines, ear-worming choruses, driving, danceable beats and commercially viable rock music, a pop heart beats. It’s just that it isn’t always obvious when clothed in such elegant rock and roll trappings. Maybe it is time we took back the word pop from the clutches of the quick buck music merchants and their production line landfill and used it again in the way that god, or at least Peter Frampton intended.

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