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Living Colour - Shade album review

Black-rock veterans still harder than the rest on mind-blowing blues-rock milestone

Cover art for Living Colour - Shade album

Living Colour are the world’s longest-serving black-rock practitioners next to George Clinton’s Funkadelic. Their sixth album in 30 years and the follow-up to 2009’s The Chair In The Doorway, Shade sees guitarist Vernon Reid, singer Corey Glover, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun giving the blues a much-needed anger-driven 21st-century makeover after claiming to have been possessed by Robert Johnson’s spirit during a transcendental blast through his Preachin’ Blues at Harlem club the Apollo.

The band spent five years harnessing their newly inspired blues-metal visions with producer Andre Betts, forging incandescent juggernauts such as Freedom Of Expression (F.O.X.), softwareuiphraseguid=“887be30a-a13d-462e-b838-de80c4891292”>Blak Out, Two Sides (featuring a Clinton cameo) and Invisible (homaging late Band Of Gypsys mentor Buddy Miles), plus incendiary covers of Notorious B.I.G.’s Who Shot Ya?, Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues and, naturally, Preachin’ Blues.

This white-hot furnace of a black-rock milestone shows Living Colour more scathingly relevant (and desperately needed) than ever.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!