English R&B group Blue originally were intended to be formed as a boy band back in 1999, by none other than Simon Cowell of course, but the original line up never took off. Members Antony Costa and Duncan James still had plans to break into the music industry and formed their own group instead, enter Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe and you have the original and current line up of the group Blue we know today. Since their formation the guys sold nearly 2 million copies of their debut album All Rise in 2001 with supporting singles that climbed up the charts, their second album One Love followed suit and their third effort Guilty wasn’t shy of success. After a hiatus and return to the stage, their comeback album Roulette was released in 2012 to much excitement and anticipation; now Blue are back with their fifth studio album Colours, which consists of six original tracks and four covers.
Lead single King of the World is an edgy take on boy group pop, however the arrangement and overall feel comes off as unoriginal rather than unheard of; sappy pop ballad You’re The Only One is harmonious and wonderful. Home is a nice pop track with a memorable melody and a catchy hook – one of the album’s highlights. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes are channeled with Blue’s new rendition of their 1972 hit If You Don’t Know Me By Now, a great demonstration of how a gold R&B track can be brought back and given a 2015 R&B makeover, the guys stay true to the original melody with an equally soulful vocal performance. Nothing Like You isn’t vocally strong in its verses, the chorus makes up for that though; Flashback is that typical corny sounding boy group-esque soul ballad that you’ll most likely listen to again and again for its sentimental value.
Thus far we haven’t heard a lot of intense track on Colours, this matter doesn’t change with I Don’t Wanna Talk About It which remains on the train of heartbreak and longing ballads; the keyboard introduces Special in fine form, seemingly preparing us for another slow number, but surprisingly we are taken on an uptempo and beat savvy pop number which is sure to spark some kind of addiction. Hang On In There, Baby is a track with some history behind it, being written by songwriter Johnny Bristol in 1974, and famously being featured on Gary Barlow’s debut solo album Open Road; in comparison, Blue delivered a stronger and more soulful performance that Barlow did in 1998. The arrangement that carries Endless Love is as soulful as the vocal performance, a nice return and finish to the smooth sound of this album.
What is refreshing about Blue’s new album Colours is that it’s a pop album that is soulful rather than tasteless, unlike much of what hits the top of the charts today; each member of the group compliment each other with their voices and obvious chemistry, much like their previous work, something that will keep all existing and new fans satisfied. There were times when the album could have picked up, but was easily made up for as the album progressed from its luscious ballads to its upbeat pop numbers; the cover tracks were handled nicely and with caress, which should hopefully earn the group a nod of approval from the original artists. All in all, Colours is a smooth and fun dose of classic pop and soul that will be enjoyed by many without hesitation.