Originally published on So So Gay on 11 March 2015.
TLDR: A change of direction into adult-contemporary territory pays off for boyband Blue, but there are arguably too many cover versions.
One of the few acts to really try and capitalise on their The Big Reunion exposure, Blue release Colours this week, their fifth studio album and second since reforming for the hit ITV show.
Colours contains a mix of old and new. Alongside six original songs are four cover versions, which achieve varying levels of success. Their soulful crooning on the cover of Eric Benét’s ‘You’re the Only One’ suits the guys down to the ground, however their version of the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes classic ‘If You Don’t Know Me Know By Now’ is rather pedestrian and forgettable. Similarly, their take on Crazy Horse’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk About It’ is nice but uninteresting, but their joyful cover of ‘Hang On In There Baby’ is an uplifting note for the album.
As for the new material, lead single ‘King of the World’ is a nice song, but there are better potential singles in the shape of the Take That flavoured ‘Home’, the infectious ‘Nothing Like You’, and the loved up ‘Special.
The four guys’ voices still sound great, with the various tones complementing each other well. Notably, Lee Ryan seems to have reined in his big notes that would sometimes veer into strained territory, and now seems to be aware of how high to go and still sound great.
It’s a successful change in sound for the maturing boy-now-man band, which feels like an extension of Simon Webbe’s solo material – unsurprising since he has co-writes on five out of the six new songs here. A short but sweet album, Colours is a return to form after the urban-flavoured misstep of Roulette. Our advice for album number six would be to ditch the covers and have confidence in the strength of their original material.
Standout Tracks: ‘Home’ / ‘Nothing Like You’ / ‘Special’ / ‘Hang On In There Baby’