I’m a big fan of the debut, but it’s a been a couple years since I listened to it. From memory, this record feels a little more scattershot – perhaps due to ambition – than that one.
Living Colour do an excellent job of fusing funk, soul and hard rock together. There’s also a bit of a hip hop influence, though it is very slight. (For the debut, I believe I claimed they were fusing metal too but, on this record, the metal influence seems to have subsided a bit. There’s a punk influence that might be more pronounced though.) The record leans more to the R&B side of the funk metal spectrum than the white bands, which makes a lot of sense given what these guys’ families likely listened to when they were growing up. That’s a nice distinction as it gives them a relatively unique sound in the genre.
The songs are pretty good, though the melodies aren’t always there. The lyrics are pretty political, which is well and good. I particularly like the post-modern use of lyrics by others (Chuck D, Paul Simon) to make their point on “Elvis is Dead”. If there’s one thing you can say about this band, they’re not dumb.
The musicianship is stellar, as you would expect. (Anyone – or, at least, most people – who plays funk metal should be good at playing.) Reid is notable as usual, but Skillings also distinguishes himself, particularly on what sounds like a mostly bass instrumental track. (It’s like he’s Chris Squire!)
The only thing I can say is criticism is I’m not sure the material is quite as consistent as it could be, particularly melody wise. And I guess I could criticize the production but it’s a funk metal album from 1990, the production is going to be what it is.
On the whole, a pretty damn good record. Not sure it’s as strong as the debut, but it’s pretty good.