1980 (heruitgave 2005 EMI Music)
When the LP “Colours” by German prog band Eloy was released in 1980 it marked the band’s eighth studio album. Prior to its release singer/guitarist Frank Bornemann and bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol faced the difficult task of replacing keyboardist Detlev Schmidtchen and drummer Jürgen Rosenthal, who had left Eloy after the legendary “Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes”. There was significant pressure to create the music for the new album since the tour to promote “Colours” had already been booked. However, you can’t hear any signs of that pressure, by the way.
Newcomers Hannes Folberth (keyboards), Jim McGillivray (drums) and additional guitarist Hannes Arkona are also brilliant musicians who have given Eloy a catchier sound with more room for powerful guitar riffs and Alan Parsons Project-like tones. “Colours”, with its predominantly shorter tracks, can be considered a transitional album that combines the best of the ’70s and ’80s. Personally I find it a delightful collection of songs.
One of the great things about Eloy is that their combination of space rock and symphonic rock nearly always works well. On this album, presented in a colorful cover, the spacey sound is never far away. In this regard we hear a lot of elongated keyboard chords that shimmer and float through the music. There is plenty of reverb and echo, themes repeat themselves, the bass thumps and the rhythms keep everything tightly together.
The regular album has a duration of almost 40 minutes and contains eight tracks while the remastered 2005 reissue includes two additional tracks. Let’s start with the original eight tracks.
Opener Horizons is an atypical Eloy track as it’s not Frank Bornemann who handles the vocals but the ladies Edna and Sabine. It’s a keyboard-oriented composition with an unmistakable Alan Parsons groove. While it may serve as an opener it is at least an introduction just like the closing track Sunset which with its acoustic guitar is definitely more than an outro.
The second track, Illuminations, in my opinion, is the strongest track and closest to the ’70s Eloy sound. It features delightful bass lines by Klaus-Peter Matziol and excellent guitar playing. At one point raw guitar chords fill the space followed by the almost indecent caressing of the synthesizer. A decisive ending ensues.
Songs like Giant, Impressions and Child Migration effortlessly continue the album’s good trajectory. Special attention should be given to the Jethro Tull-like flute in Impressions although no one will claim that honor. You can pull my beard if it turns out to be a synthesizer.
An remarkable track on the album is the catchy Silhouette. Not entirely coincidentally this song was released as a single and on video at the time. I enjoy listening to it: the tight rhythm with that delightful hiccup, the almost embarrassing Parsons comparison, the playful keyboards and the blissful guitar solo.
The bonus tracks don’t have much substance. They include the singles Wings Of Vision and Silhouette, noting that Wings Of Vision is not an album track and was composed with a single release in mind.
As the son of a painter I grew up with various color palettes and sample cards. It’s safe to say that I am quite sensitive to colors.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022