The Science of Goodbye is the debut album release from Three Colours Dark, a new project from Rachel Cohen and Jonathan Edwards. It is their first writing/recording collaboration in sixteen years, since their partnership as two of the founding members and songwriters of the award-winning original line-up of Classic Rock Society favourites Karnataka.
Following the disintegration of Karnataka in 2004, Rachel went on to join The Reasoning while Jon founded Panic Room with Anne-Marie Helder, Gavin Griffiths & Paul Davies, all from Karnataka, also later creating the acoustic project, Luna Rossa, with Anne-Marie.
The Reasoning disbanded in 2014, after which Rachel took an extended break from music whilst focusing on her post-doctoral career as an academic researcher. A casual meeting between Jon and Rachel at the end of 2018 led to much musical reminiscing and a shared desire to rekindle their song-writing partnership. Three Colours Dark finds the pair reconnecting to build on their previous achievements by creating an album of new music.
Initial demos were assembled at home and the tracks were further developed at Tim Hamill’s Sonic One studio. The band recognise the impact Tim Hamill has had on the album, being a major contributor in terms of helping to create the sonic form and structure of the album, as a musician, engineer and co-producer. Tim also plays on the album, playing bass, acoustic and electric guitar and he also developed and programmed the drum and rhythm tracks.
The album itself does indeed bring to mind the original Karnataka. That may have been inevitable given the distinctiveness of Rachel’s voice and the atmospheric keyboards provided by Jon. Karnataka’s lyrics were always heartfelt and emotional but here that is taken further. It is hard not to presume that they are autobiographical, as they deal with some quite disturbing subject matter. Few albums come with further reading list full of psychological works. To say the lyrics are heartfelt almost seems like a disservice to them. You can almost feel the pain, the abuse. That is not to say that this is a bleak album. It is actually an optimistic one – this happened, but no more, I’m moving on.
It is the best part of a decade since Rachel released any music, but her voice is as good and strong as ever. At times her voice is quite ethereal, but she has a bite of something much grittier lurking in the back ground. She sounds vulnerable, reflective, but determined. Jon’s keyboards are a brilliant foil to this. His synths create shimmering atmospheres, multi-coloured swathes creating just the right feel. His piano work is quite outstanding, without being showy. His nimble fingers serve the music rather than demonstrating his prowess as a soloist. That’s just what’s needed when dealing with the nature of this music. He also contributes some guitar and ebow on some tracks.
The supporting cast bring their skills excellently to the album. Dave Gregory’s guitar is tasteful and atmospheric, Chantel McGregor’s soaring. Steve Balsamo puts in a powerful performance. There are quite outstanding contributions from Kate Ronconi on violin and Nathan Bray on trumpet and flugelhorn. Kate’s work is really effective and she achieves an excellent tone throughout. Her violin on the opening track ’Enter Soubrette’ sounds quite cello like. Nathan is quite impressive and elegant, especially when he supports Rachel’s voice on songs such as ‘Know You Now’. There is also an excellent and fitting cover version of Richard Thompson’s ‘Ghosts In The Wind’ on the album. The album is beautiful, melancholic and chastening.
I’ll leave the closing comment to the band: ‘The Science Of Goodbye‘ is launched amidst the landscape of an historically remarkable 2020 where life as we know it is being rewritten pretty much day by day. May music continue to be a guiding light and a source of comfort for us all…’
Wonderland (How Can This Be Love?)
Know You Now
Ghosts In The Wind
Three Colours Dark
Tasted Like Kryptonite
Blood Moon Rising
The Science Of Goodbye
Rachel Cohen – Vocals Jonathan Edwards – keyboards, guitar, ebow
Dave Gregory – electric guitar
Chantel McGregor – electric guitar
Steve Balsamo – vocals
Kate Ronconi – violin
Nathan Bray – trumpet & flugelhorn
Label: firefly music
Release Date: 27th March 2020
The album is available digitally from Bandcamp: https://threecoloursdark.bandcamp.com/releases
Or from Burning Shed: https://burningshed.com/tag/Three+Colours+Dark