One Cure For Man is a British rock act and the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, James Parkinson, who is also the sole lyricist of the group. I discovered this band while reviewing their sophomore release, Gods And Toys, back when I first started writing for Bucketlist two years ago. The band’s newest full-length album, Colours In The Fire, is a good follow-up record and shows Parkinson’s growth as a songwriter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite capture what I loved about the 2015 release.
One of my favourite elements of One Cure For Man’s previous release was Parkinson’s guitar work. His riffs and solos on that album are simply great; not only impressive but melodically catchy to the point where I had learned to play a few of them myself. He’s dialled it back a few notches on Colours In The Fire, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the lack of flashy guitars makes room for Parkinson’s vocal melodies and lyrics to be the main focus. It’s a nice change of pace. His vocals, however, simply aren’t as infectious as his guitar playing. Still, Parkinson’s lyrics are mostly enjoyable and he experiments with falsettos on “The Unknown” and “The End I Wish For Them” for that added emotional effect. The songs, aside from the hooky pop-rock chorus of the album’s title track, don’t stick in my head like I hoped.
On the other hand, a lot of the things I’ve nitpicked about Gods and Toys aren’t present on Colours In The Fire. The instrumentals are consistent and offer a much smoother transition from track to track. They also don’t serve as a distraction. A lot of unnecessary amounts of reverb and delay were present on the previous album, but, production-wise, the latest release is much cleaner and feels more genuine. The layers of guitars and keys alongside the bass and drums blend well together in the mix, and compliment the mostly profound lyrics, despite often worded or articulated strangely.
The fore-fronted vocals don’t always work. For example, “Skin And Bone,” one of the album’s weaker tracks, boasts lyrics like, “I was just a sick and vulgar boy, with my legs open just like a whore.” I’ll admit, picking one of the weaker lyrics off an album full of sufficient verses does seem unfair, but it’s a good example of how some of these phrases just fall short in conveying the deeper meaning of Parkinson’s message.
In short, Colours In The Fire is a good follow-up to One Cure For Man’s previous release. Though, the album is missing a couple elements that made his last record so infectious, it is sure to please fans of his easily recognizable and emotional, indie rock style, all while showing off his growth as an artist.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy