COLORTONE
"CONSTRUCTIVE STUMBLINGS"
RELEASED 1999 (ORIGINALLY ON SERAPH RECORDS)
PRODUCED BY DICKIE
RECORDED AT FIVE WALLS STUDIO, CHICAGO
TRACK LISTING:
(1) PAINT BY NUMBERS (2) PAPER AIRPLANES (3) MOVIE GIRL (4) CALIFORNIA (5) SAFE HAVEN (6) SILENT FILMS (7) AN OPTIMISTIC SENSE OF SMELL (8) THE EX-PRETTY TRAGICAL VAMPIRE (9) PERFECT (10) TRINITY DANCED (11) FANTASTICALLY SLEEPING (12) THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN (13) MEANINGLESS (14) IMPOSSIBLE WISHES (15) I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (16) ETERNAL REVERSE
PayPal Digital Instant Download! View your PayPal Cart
NOTES >
While Dickie satisfied his twisted inner rock personna with Plastic Princess, he found an outlet for a softer, more intimate side in Colortone.  Colortone was practically kept a secret, as it wasn't performed live and received very little promotion.  Recorded entirely at home, "Constructive Stumblings" was released by Chicago-based indie label Seraph Records. In fact, Colortone came to be almost entirely because of Seraph.  Dickie had written a few of what he called "adult lullabies" and performed them as a favor to a friend who ran a variety show at a Chicago club.  The owners of Seraph happened to catch the performance and expressed their interest in the project.  Dickie then set to work writing and recording the remainder of what would become "Constructive Stumblings," a 16-track epic that features a piano re-make of the timeless classic "I'm In The Mood For Love."

> WANT TO SUBMIT YOUR OWN REVIEW? CLICK HERE!

Now this, this is a cd that is hard to review, as it was very difficult for me to adjust to such a radical shift in mood and style.  This is not your typical dark music, and that fact is reason alone to encourage bit of digging and research.  Colortone is the solo project of a Chicago native by the name of Dickie Chapin, and his music is dominated by syrupy children's lullabies fused with quirky 80’s synth pop (a la old bouncing Depeche Mode and Erasure songs).  A very soft, pleading voice that makes Billy Corgan, Michael Stipe, or Morrissey sound tough drifts atop the music with a lilting and heartbreaking vulnerability.  But that is the point.  This is really an interesting and very stark concept.  Similar to The Cranes, the mismatching of painful lyrical themes delivered with a perky youthful innocence has a poignant and thought-provoking result and indeed, the concept and idea of Mr. Chapin works brilliantly.  The lyrics are hopeless laments examining lost love, growing up to face the 'real' world, the escape offered by dreams, and the blissful naiveté of youth.  But the music and melodies paradoxically are far from bitter or pensive but are instead overtly sweet.  Sometimes injected with a slight psychedelia ("Safe Haven") ethereal ambience ("Silent Films" and "Eternal Reverse") and often big band inspired arrangements sneak in throughout the course of the cd.  And yes, if you glance down at the track list, you will see "I'm In The Mood For Love," which is indeed the same famous ballad of yesteryear.

I particularly enjoyed the song, "Movie Girl" which was Mr. Chapin's ode to period-film actress Kate Winslet.  I too share an admirable obsession for the curvy British vixen, so I was with him in spirit for this particular track.  However, the project of Colortone as a whole is something I could rarely find myself listening to.  While exceptionally well arranged and musically flawless, I had a hard time with the style of the music, as I tend to gravitate toward much more straightforward dark music.  But this cd is definitely something fans of 80's synth projects, quirky goth rock, and tongue-in-cheek alternative would really appreciate.  The lyrics are not to be taken lightly, and it is there where a considerable gush of genuine emotion and inspiration bursts forth.  The lightness of the music is an escape; the same way dark music is a cathartic and cleansing outlet for most bands.  But here, a more optimistic world and atmosphere is created, in hopes to spirit away the pain of the lyrics and strip the emphasis from the negative.  I hope desperately that Colortone are discovered by an appreciative audience, as this is not something that should to slip into obscurity.

-starvox.net