The sophomore album from the exquisitely fabulous Colour Me Wednesday is released today on Dovetown Records. It has the best album title that I have seen in years, ‘Counting Pennies In The Afterlife’ and on first listen I can say without a single shadow of a doubt that it is a pop masterpiece. Their first album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’ from 2013 was very, very good but for me this one tops it. I believe it has a really summery feel to it and at times is evocative of the finest late 60s US west coast rock. But at its core it remains, as you would expect from Colour Me Wednesday, a truly British album. If you were looking for a dud track here you wouldn’t find it.
Album opener “Sunriser” kicks off the whole collection with sonic energy and harmonies to die for. The harmonies on this LP surely have their roots in some of the finest Motown and Phil Spector harmonies. I would also argue that some of the jangly indie guitar riffs are almost Byrdsian in their construct. The production is crystal clear throughout and there is sometimes a real incongruity between the depth (and sometimes darkness) of the lyric and the happy vibe of the music. That contradiction, most notable on “Sad Bride”, is something that the Smiths were masters at, well Colour Me Wednesday are just as skilled with that as Morrissey and Marr were. Are Colour Me Wednesday a punk band? Maybe not in sound but in attitude, approach, boldness, appetite, belief and passion they are 100% punk.
Like their label mates the Tuts this band is political, but not just fashionable pin badge political, they understand life and what it is like to be human and that is writ large in their words. Their songs tell their stories with intelligence, integrity and a soulfulness that is unmatched by many of their contemporaries. One particular lyric, from “Exposure” made me think deeply, “you get one life and you can do more than just survive”. Surely a mantra for living in the 21st century. After two spins so far my favourite songs are “Tinfoil”, “Boyfriend’s Car” and “Edge Of Everything” but that is highly likely to change each listen, largely because every one of the eleven tracks is an indie pop masterstroke. The post song little girl spoken/ sung interlude at the end of “Not My Turf” is bizarre, weird, menacing, disturbing and wonderful. That has to be an adult voice treated by production wizardry right? Jen, Harriet, Jaca and Laura have put together a record that is clearly a contender for album of the year. Is it also the best album ever? Some people believe it might be!