The Concretes

In Colour

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With the Concretes always finding new ways to explore and expand their irresistible pop, In Colour finds the Swedish collective making another sonic jump, just as they did between their first album and their early EPs. Granted, this album isn't nearly as big a step forward as The Concretes was from the Boy, You Better Run Now era; actually, with its simpler production and unhurried songs, it could be seen as a step to the side for a bit of fresh air. The mix of chugging guitars and brass on "Fiction" and "Chosen One" is the closest In Colour comes to the Velvet Undergound/Motown mash-up of The Concretes, but the rest of the album finds a happy medium between the lushness of the first album and the sweet sketches of the band's earlier work, and throws in touches of folk, country, and pop of all kinds for good measure. "On the Radio" is more Petula Clark than Diana Ross, while "Sunbeams" boasts coyly charming lyrics like "I didn't know you were you." Meanwhile, the beautiful harmonies, mandolins, and strings on "Change in the Weather" and "Grey Days" sound like the influence of the Concretes' equally charming side project, Heikki, has been filtered back into the main band's music. And, though In Colour is overall a less showy collection of songs than the debut album was, "Song for the Song"'s quicksilver changes and the spacy nighttime ballad "Tomorrow" show that the Concretes haven't lost their sense of mischief or flair for the theatrical. Though there are a few draggy songs on the album and "Your Call," a ballad with the Magic Numbers' Romeo Stodart, doesn't go much of anywhere, In Colour is still full of quietly vibrant moments.

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