Stephen Duffy's third solo album, and his first solo outing following the demise of the Lilac Time, and as usual, he managed to keep the listening audience guessing. Working with classical violinist Nigel Kennedy, Duffy attempted to marry classical music with straight-ahead pop songs (Duffy returned the favor, contributing to Kennedy's CD Kafka). Kennedy proves to be the CD's main downfall, simply because most of the tracks are separated by "Transitoires" composed and performed by Nigel Kennedy. Such pieces prove downright distracting, as they are not particularly melodic or pleasing. Of the nine Duffy tracks, most are quite good, but never seem to reach the heights of his previous releases, either as a solo artist or as part of the Lilac Time; however, that is not to say there are not moments of sheer brilliance. The title track, "Music in Colors," is wonderful, and the added violin from Kennedy sounds truly inspiring and beautiful. When used to augment the sound and complete the sound picture, his violin does add quite a bit to the music. Other wonderful moments include the pop-driven "Natalie," with an instantly accessible tune, and the almost eerie "Charlotte's Conversation." Again, in these instances, Kennedy's playing is essential to the overall sound. Perhaps more songs from Duffy and no solo performances from Kennedy would have saved the final outcome. This CD is a perfect example of an album where the programming button on the CD player comes in very handy. Program the songs and leave out the "Transitoires," and you're treated to a much more pleasant listening experience. In fact, this would have been much better as an EP. To his credit, Stephen Duffy made a very valid attempt at creating a new sound. What he did do is once again redefine himself in the world of popular music, and proved to his listeners that he was not content to settle into one sound and milk it. Also worth note is the incredibly witty sleeve design, almost worth the purchase of the CD itself.
Music in Colors Review
by Aaron Badgley