|Man of Colours|
|Produced by David Lord|
|Released on July? 1987|
|US CHART POSITION #43|
|Find it at GEMM|
|OVT 41592 cover|
I bought a used cassette of this for a dollar, unaware (but not surprised) that the container was ready to relinquish its magnetic soul to the great beyond. I never liked cassettes anyway, since they’re prone to this sort of premature passage and usually contain less manageable lyric sheets that require some form of bothersome unscrolling (as is the case here). This, a disclaimer for my review of Man of Colours, which I’ve only heard a few times, the tape now rendered unlistenable in the middle for the span of a minute or two. It should be noted, however, that the music on Man of Colours was likely never intended to make it this far anyway, written to the tastes of the time when romantic synth pop was in vogue. Vaguely effeminate (i.e., sensitive) men would sway their hips to unseen strings, often dressed in a continental variation of sophisticated eveningwear, crooning over love with an intransigent yearning that threatened to eclipse the great couplings of Antony and Cleopatra et al. Which is a longwinded way of saying “overwrought,” I suppose. The root of this unnecessary evil grew from the work of Bryan Ferry, who first dipped Cupid’s arrows into Roxy Music’s intoxicating poison. David Bowie fueled some of this as well with his magnificent “Heroes.” Icehouse’s original outlook was suitably cold, more likely to embrace science fiction than the sufferings of young love, and thus as indebted to Gary Numan and Ultravox as the new romantic movement. But the commercial crossover of alternative artists like OMD and Simple Minds paved the way for Icehouse to do the same, evidenced in singles like “No Promises” and, here, “Electric Blue” and “Crazy.” And critics took umbrage with the fact that Icehouse had double-dipped, first into the counterculture pool of talent (who felt love was for fools) and then into the mainstream (where everyone was a fool for love). The critical backlash was swift and not undeserved, but somehow Icehouse never got credit for their own success or failure. Iva Davies was accused of mimicry at every step, as if it were impossible to conceive that more than one songwriter could share the same muse. Whatever Icehouse did, it was never good enough to escape the shadows of those who had gone before, and I believe Man of Colours (as with Measure For Measure) is good enough to stand (or fall) on its own merits. It’s easy to snigger at John Oates’ cowriting credit on “Electric Blue,” but the fact remains it’s a terrific pop song. “Man of Colours” and “Girl In The Moon” are moody, exotic tracks that point to deeper waters than simply superficial pop; “The Kingdom” and “Crazy” are pop songs that need go no deeper. The other half of the album is a little colorless by comparison, but the songs move quickly enough (well, maybe not on my tape player…). It’s a difficult balance to strike, this mixture of troubled waters and love’s eternal spring, but Icehouse does it as well as anyone. Iva Davies has, for the most part, kept Icehouse at the same cool temperature since their debut, even as he’s stocked his shelves with more commercial fare. Fans who accidentally stumbled onto Sidewalk need not take the same care to avoid Man of Colours, as it’s far less uneven.
IVA DAVIES -- lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, Fairlight music computer, cor anglais, backing vocals, mixing, artwork
ROBERT KRETSCHMER -- guitars, backing vocals, artwork
SIMON LLOYD -- reeds and brass, keyboards, computers, backing vocals
STEPHEN MORGAN -- bass guitars, backing vocals
ANDY QUNTA -- keyboards, piano, backing vocals
PAUL WHEELER -- drums and percussion, backing vocals
David Lord -- additional keyboards, mixing
John Oates -- guest backing vocals
Glen Tommey, Shena Power, Stuart Gordon -- additional percussion, guitars, backing vocals & strings
David Hemming -- engineer
Michael Brauer -- mixing (2,3)
Sue Gott -- art direction and layout
Hugh Stewart -- photography
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|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|AUSL||1987||Regular||LP/CD/CS||RML/RMC 53239||elpee avail. in ltd. ed.
blue, red or yellow vinyl
|UK||1987||Chrysalis||LP/CD||CHR/CCD 1592||lyric sleeve|
|US||July? 1987||Chrysalis||LP/CD/CS||OV/VK/OVT 41592||lyric sleeve|
|CAN||1987||Chrysalis||LP||CHS 41592||lyric sleeve|
|JPN||1987||Diva||CD||FLCP-1004||see JPN bonus tracks|
|AUSL||2002||WEA||CDX||748985||digital remaster w. bonus tracks|
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