Coloursøund II is the follow up to the eponymous Coloursøund album released in October 1999. This follow up was released on Great North Western Recording Company on 16th July 2021. The album was recorded during the Summer of 2020 in Lincolnshire, England during a lifting of Covid restrictions which meant that Mike Peters and Billy Duffy could get together along with Steve “Smiley” Barnard on drums and George Williams on bass, George would also produce the album.
Closing a gap of twenty years between their first record and now, the Coloursøund partnership of Billy Duffy and Mike Peters was originally forged in 1997 when neither were aligned to the groups they are equally synonymous with. By the time they had written and released their fist album COLOURSØUND back in 1999, both Billy and Mike had returned to fly their banners with The Cult and The Alarm respectively. “You could say that our songwriting partnership was born outside of wedlock”, says Peters. “When we first started working together in the late 1990’s we had no allegiance to either The Cult or The Alarm. We were drawn to write instinctively together, Billy drove the music from a guitar perspective and I would add lyrics and vocals affected by being in the presence of someone who had followed a similar life journey and affected as I had, by the turbulence of the rock and roll existence.”
The original Coloursøund album was released in 1999 and over the two decades since, grew a reputation all of its own forever linking Billy Duffy and Mike Peters, who have often played together since, performing their Coloursøund songs at every opportunity. Fast forward to 2019 – Billy Duffy sent Mike Peters a guitar riff via email. that immediately triggered a choral response. Within weeks, the pair had located to a beach cottage in a remote part of the North Wales coastline to write again. By the raging winter sea shore, that first moment of creativity became Paradise [Free People] the opening song of COLOURSØUND II. ‘
Free people is who we are now,” says Billy. “We have a lot more understanding of how life works and the original Coloursøund phase taught us both so much about ourselves, that we were able to return, survive and thrive in the bands that we made our reputations with. Ever since we first started working together, we have both retained and hung on to elements of that newly found artistic freedom we experienced through the Coloursøund project. By hiking together with Love Hope Strength, playing together in Dead Men Walking or producing records with other musicians. 2019 felt like the right time to do something together as Coloursound. What neither of us saw coming was the pandemic and how this music would help us both through the challenges of Lockdown”.
Video Link : Coloursøund Recording Sessions October 2020
COLOURSØUND II was recorded between the lockdowns at the Chapel Studio in Lincolnshire with bass player George Williams and Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros drummer Smiley making up the rhythm section. “I had this vision to create a really simple, direct rock record” continues Billy. “A record that allowed both Mike and I to do what we do best and be heard for who we are. Almost like we were playing live without overdubs. I had a belief that a record recorded and delivered in this manner, would cut through and sound as contemporary as anything out there. We have gathered so much experience between us, that I felt we could be totally honest in our musicianship and deliver a record that captured the essence of our relationship.” Produced by George Williams (who also played bass), COLOURSØUND II is dominated by Billy Duffy’s lighting strike guitar passages channeled through the pure expression and emotive vox of Mike Peters.
“As soon as I opened Billy’s email and heard that first classic riff of his, I knew the calling of Coloursøund had to be answered.” says Mike Peters. “No one plays guitar like Billy, he’s the master of his art and more, and to create music and sing with him is a privilege. This is not The Cult, nor is it The Alarm. This is Coloursøund – alive because it exists. Here and now because we have made it so, and this is the time to set it free.”
Interview with Billy Duffy published on Guitarworld.com
Guitarworld : It’s been more than 20 years since the first Coloursøund album. Why now?
Billy : “That’s a very good and reasonable question to ask. I don’t know, there just never seemed to be the right set of circumstances in the last 20 years. I got busy with the Cult, and then the Cult wasn’t busy, but then Mike got busy with the Alarm and his own solo thing. I mean, Mike is probably the busiest man in rock that I know. He’s always doing something.
“But in late 2019, I think, I just sent him a riff. Because what happened was, I’m still working on the new Cult album as well, and there’s a few little riffs and things that are just not seemingly right for where the Cult’s at these days. So I sent one off to Mike to see how he would react.
“Within 20 minutes he’d written a verse and sent it back to me and we thought, ‘Oh, okay. Maybe there’s something still here…’ And once we’d done that first track, which wound up being Paradise, that sort of set the intention: “Well, maybe we’ll get together and write some more stuff…”
Guitarworld : What was the process for putting this one together?
Billy : “In January 2020, we decided to get together in a little cottage on the coast in North Wales. And so that’s what we did. You know, I always joke about the Led Zeppelin thing, where Jimmy Page and Robert Plant got together in a cottage in Wales and wrote songs about California. Well, we did the cottage bit, and it was great. I really loved it. As a rock fan and a bit of a rock music geek, I’ve always felt that’s how records should be made, right? You go away and you get in the bubble and you make a whole magical thing. “So that was it – we gave ourselves three days, we came up with seven or eight songs. I went back to America for a while and Mike worked on those songs, got some lyrics together. I came back to England in March, and then the lock-down happened. And basically we just sort of long-distance worked on the songs until we felt we were ready to record. And the minute they lifted the lock-down in the UK we went into the studio and cut some stuff and finished it off. And that was the album, basically. It was spontaneous. It wasn’t a dragged-out thing.”
Guitarworld : I’ve heard you talk about wanting to do something that was simple and direct, almost live-sounding, with this album. Basically, what we think of as the sound of a rock ‘n’ roll band. Which, in 2021, is sort of outside the norm.
Billy : “Yeah, I agree. Most people now are embracing technology and making records in a different way and, you know, there’s no judgments. If something sounds good, it is good. It doesn’t matter how you get there. “So we would sit in the control room every morning after breakfast at this residential studio called the Chapel in deepest Lincolnshire, which is like England’s Nebraska… if Nebraska had a coast. [laughs] We worked on the tracks fairly spontaneously with the producer, George [Williams], who ended up playing bass on the record. And the drummer was Smiley, who plays with Mike and is a very musical guy. It just felt like a good, honest, old-fashioned way of making a record.”
Guitarworld : That said, it also sounds like a contemporary record. Which speaks to a larger point about your guitar playing. Your style has always hit on a lot of classic rock and blues-rock references, but interpreted through a punky, sometimes almost post-modern lens.
Billy : “I try to do that. You know, I think that’s one of the dangers of saying in 2021, ‘Oh, we’re just making a rock record.’ You really have this terrible fear it’s going to just be some riffs that are a thousand times rehashed. But I try to put my own personality into it. And I think that growing up in England, and the punk thing that Mike and I lived through, has had somewhat of an indelible effect on our DNA as performers and writers.
(Original photo by Mick Peek for Billy Duffy Official)
Musicians & Credits
Mike Peters – Vocals
Billy Duffy – Guitar
George Williams – Bass Guitar, Keyboards
Steve “Smiley” Barnard – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
All tracks written by William Duffy and Michael Peters
Produced and mixed by George Williams
Recorded at The Chapel Studios, Lincolnshire, England
Recdording Engineered by Joe Sage
Mastered by Howie Weinberg
Artwork by Dan Shearn
Photography by Andy Labrow and Jules Jones Peters
The special limited edition bespoke ‘acetate cut’, Red / Sky Blue vinyl ‘of 250 copies of each colour. Each copy of the vinyl LP has been personally signed by both Billy Duffy and Mike Peters, and features two additional Duffy / Peters songs The Wild and the Candle which were both cut during the album’s recording sessions. [These songs do not feature on the CD edition]. It also features a pack of studio lyric sheets featuring A4 facsimiles of hand written lyrics, recording notation and guitar chord structures which were used personally by both Billy Duffy and Mike Peters while recording in the studio. These are copies of the actual lyric sheets Mike Peters was using when laying down the vocals and refining the words and / or, by Billy Duffy, as he was creating the guitar passages and sonic overdubs as the musical soundscape was being developed. These studio artifacts give a unique insight into the recording process that enabled Billy and Mike to cut this second installment of the Coloursøund project between the lock downs. The LP features a brand new graphic design by Dan Shearn, and is housed. in a clear gatefold protective cover, gatefold inner sleeve and all-black inner LP sleeve including a pack of A4 lyric sheets and recording studio ephemera.
Vinyl Track Listing
1. Paradise [Free People] – Promotion Video
2. Lightning Strike – Promotion Video
6. The Wild
2. The Other Side
3. Start A Fire
4. Eye For An Eye
5. Mourning Call
6. The Candle
CD Track Listing
1. Paradise [Free People]
2. Lightning Strike
7. The Other Side
8. Start A Fire
9. Eye For An Eye
10. Mourning Call
COLOURSØUND II Review by Steve Fulton and Jeff Fulton
We will come out and say it right now: COLOURSØUND II is a dark, challenging and heavy record. It’s obvious that the band was not satisfied with repeating themselves, but instead pushed the boundaries of what a combination of The Alarm and The Cult might be like. In some ways, COLOURSØUND I from 1999 answered the question of “What if Billy Duffy was the guitarist for The Alarm?”, while COLOURSØUND II answers this one: “What if Mike Peters was the vocalist for The Cult?”. The albums are flip-sides of one another, mirror-images captured 22 years apart, but at the same time, COLOURSØUND II does not play it safe in any way.
“Paradise (Free People)” the lead, stand-out track, will instantly remind listeners of the COLOURSØUND we knew from the late 90’s a refined combination of 80’s rock/new wave songs on COLOURSØUND I, but superior in many ways. But if you think the whole story of COLOURSØUND II was written with this first track you’d be sorely mistaken. While there is some of the same energy on track 7, “The Other Side”, much of this album is quite a different animal entirely. Evidenced by “Paradise (Free People)”, COLOURSØUND could have written 10 sugary pop hits and called it a day, but instead that did something more substantial: they made an album that demands listening multiple times, challenging the listener to pick apart lyrics and riffs, then piece them back together to form a whole new perspective on what COLOURSØUND can and should be. And that perspective comes quickly enough with the 2nd track, “Lightning Strikes.” The song sounds like a lost Guns And Roses track from Appetite for Destruction crossed with late 80’s Cult, with a pinch of Motorhead to drive it forward, “Rock and roll takes a heavy toll” sings Mike Peters as his voice turns into a growl that fuels most of the rest of the album. “Lightning Strikes”, it turns out, is actually more indicative of COLOURSØUND II than “Paradise (free people)”, it rocks in just the right places, and concludes with a glorious, face-melting ending bridged by a Mike Peters’ “scream” that the hits just the right tone without being histrionic. This is a near perfect rock song. “Revelation” is up next, a low rumbling heavy, grunge rocker with dark lyrical imagery with (to paraphrase) “Dogs that howl at the moon”, “forces to be reckoned with”, and “debts that cannot be forgiven”. The song brightens up in the chorus, but this is a dense rocker and at the same time, probably the best example of what COLOURSØUND has become on their 2nd outing: a heavy rock band with songs that build and build until they explode like a volcano. “Revelation” itself is a real, honest to God head-banger that should please even the most steadfast hard-rock fan. “Addiction” on the other hand, with its’ poppy, little guitar lead reminds bit of a cross between the Sex Pistols, Slade and KISS with the glam turned-up to medium volume. It grooves into a medium tempo drive that pulls from the Pistols “Submission” to rhyme with “addiction” but adds “Remission” and continues the cadence with Mike Peters and Billy Duffy exchanging lead vocal and lead guitar licks until the end. As in the best inspiration-heavy Alarm songs, this track strikes a defiant pose, speaking of pushing the way through to the other side of whatever needs to be pushed through, (“The only way is all the way. the only way out of your addiction”) while standing strong against those who might try to take you out (“I did not sign up for this so you could take me down”). “Why” is a bluesy rocker based on (possibly?) the heartbreak of a lost relationship. As with most of the songs on COLOURSØUND II it builds towards a surprisingly rockin’ conclusion (but not all that surprising, I suppose, since several of the songs have similar structures). It includes cool western style strumming at the beginning, underneath lyrics about the pain of loss, then morphs into a 80’s hair metal ballad by the end. This song caps side one (of the CD) as a deep and thoughtful first ½ that comes as quite a shock for anyone who thought this album named COLOURSØUND II would essentially be COLOURSØUND 1.2 instead of COLOURSØUND 2.0
Side 2 begins with “Actions”, a song with a simple lead and drum groove to keep the music at the mid-tempo level, while Mike Peters sings about, of course, “actions” in mostly metaphorical ways. It later breaks into a little bit of an up-tempo 70’s groove with a sweet Billy Duffy guitar lead and a little cow-bell to add flavor. Mike Peters sings “All I’m trying to do is stay alive under pressure … All I’m trying to do is minimize the fallout of my own actions”, which is more forward looking than any song on side 1, and it marks a kind of lyrical turning point for the record. The ”Other Side” is the aforementioned second song that sounds like something off of COLOURSØUND I. It combines a really dynamite guitar lead to drive this rocker with lyrics like “Here comes the 4 minute warning” and “Hello hello hello from the other side”. Somewhat reminiscent of “This Life” from COLOURSØUND I, “the Other Side” has more metal-tinged power chords and could be a third single after “Lightning Strikes”. It feels like the album, at this point has pushed through to another side quite literally both musically and lyrically. “Start A Fire” is next and it sounds a lot like what a late era Alarm song (i.e. the Raw album) might sound like on this record, but built around a Billy Duffy riff. Filled with introspection, this is a de-tempoed, slow burning groover that adds a lot of bass and minor chord progressions. The song is filled with “fire” metaphors about a band / relationship breaking up (“burn down with the fire”) and then like the best Alarm tracks begs for things to be “re-built up again.” The penultimate track, “Eye For An Eye” has a late-80’s Motley Crew thing going on, or at the very least, a hair metal feel, but lyrically this is no “butt rock”. Instead, it’s a classic ode to Motorhead and Judas Priest, at least at the beginning, then builds up in the verses just to where you think it will explode, but instead it mellows until Billy Duffy comes in with another mind-bending solo. The album ends with the epic “Mourning Call” which brings back thoughts of both “Howling Wind” and “Armageddon In The Morning” by The Alarm with a dash of U2 and a tiny bit of The Sweet. This one goes to unexpected places in all the right ways. A 5:23 masterpiece of psychedelic metal / pop that closes out the album in the best way possible. It starts out slow tempo sounding like an Icicle Works deep-cut from a “Whisper To A Scream Album” (actually titled “The Icicle Works”) before morphing to The Who and back again, adding layers and layers of sounds to great effect. Mike Peters sings “I heard the sound of Mourning Light” which is a classic, unwritten (until now) Alarm-style lyric.
If you thought “COLOURSØUND I” was “Billy Duffy does new wave”, then you will probably think “COLOURSØUND II” is “Mike Peters does hard-rock.” While that’s not a completely accurate assessment, it does act as an elevator pitch for this record. The stripes of 70’s and 80’s rock jump out from COLOURSØUND II, but in ways you might not expect. The parts of The Cult and The Alarm, with nods to The Sweet, Motorhead and The Sex Pistols were expected, but who was anticipating at the same time, equal measures of KISS, Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Guns and Roses? COLOURSØUND II is a record you put on the turntable and listen to with headphones in your darkened high school bedroom, but also one that demands you to open your windows to blast your neighbors. Every song is a complex set of parts with multiple tempo changes and laid over heavy and sometimes head-banging song structures. Not much is simple on COLOURSØUND II, with every track demanding multiple listens. And you should know this before you put on the headphones and turn the volume-knob from Min to Max: your anticipated favorite songs going in, might not be your favorite songs coming out.
ALBUM REVIEW : COLOURSØUND – COLOURSØUND II By James Edmond on Scottish Music Network website
COLOURSØUND II is the second album from Billy Duffy (The Cult) and Mike Peters (The Alarm) project that is COLOURSØUND. The new album recorded 23 years apart is as powerful, if not more than the debut album from the band. The passion and energy created between Billy and Mike soars from the music in a powerful way from the album.
The opening track Paradise (Free People), takes you back to the beginning, teasing you with big guitar riffs and powerful drums before the opening lyric “Let this be the start of something beautiful”, the song has everything from the big chorus that will embed its self in your head, to the explosive guitar that leaves the hair standing on your neck. Next up “Lightning Strikes”, opening with a groove rock guitar riff that captures you before taking you on a journey, big power riffs creating an epic rock classic, American rock n Roll played from the heart. One of the stand out tracks from the album, Revelation, captures you with the powerful guitar before Mike Peters vocals takes you on a journey through the world of Coloursound. The powerful lyrics of “A Dog howls at the moon and the penetration”, the song just grows before breaking down with a nice acoustic and then amplifies to an intense tempo that will have you nodding along. ‘ Addiction ‘ is a softer song in comparison to the opening tracks on the album, is a pleasing break, with the sing a long chorus, really shows the musical talents and various music styles of the two musicians.
‘Why ‘continues the softer rock approach, with a blues theme, placing you in the open country, questioning yourself as to why, tugging on the heart strings the song is about break up in a relationship. The track builds with strong beautiful harmonies before howling guitars. ‘Actions ‘ a powerful song with a strong lead and drum groove that drives the rolling lyrics. ‘The Other Side ‘is a delightful surprise that brings back the power of Coloursøund with epic guitars and explosive vocals. When the band tour this will be a massive song live, it has so much power you can feel it soaring throughout the track. Next is the powerful Start a Fire, a slow groove climaxing into a rocking chorus with “I’m going to start a Fire”, its deep with a lot of emotions running in the back ground, capturing the soft rock groove with a great guitar solo from Billy Duffy bringing the song to a close.
The penultimate song ‘Eye for an Eye‘ has a strong Motorhead feel with the powerful rolling guitars and drums before a big 80’s rock chorus, with a Gun’s n Roses edge, the track grows with layers of guitars before a stunning guitar solo from Billy Duffy. The last track ‘Mourning Cal ‘ has a very psychedelic feel, opening with a constant drum beat before distorted guitars, powerful vocals from Mike Peters towering above the music like the light on top of a lighthouse shining out to sea, it has a more dance feel than a rock song but its strong rock edges creates a 5.23 masterpiece to bring an end to what will be a classic album from Coloursøund. Billy and Mike have continued where they left off 23 years ago, delivering a powerful album filled with emotion, passion and pure rock n’ roll. This will not disappoint any rock music lover and its not just fans of The Cult or The Alarm, this is a pleasure to listen to bringing two forces of the 80’s & 90’s together creating the music of Coloursøund.
COLOURSØUND – COLOURSØUND II: Album Review by Mike Ainscoe from At The Barrier website
Twenty years on from their debut work, Mike Peters and Billy Duffy decide it’s time to follow up with COLOURSØUND II.
Release date: 16th July 2021. Label: Twenty First Century Recordings. Format: digital / CD / LP
“Let this be the start of something beautiful,” Peters sings at the start of the record. It could well be if it weren’t for the fact he and Billy Duffy are long-time pals who first released music together under the name twenty years ago.
Originally filling a Cult/Alarm sized gap, the partnership is renewed as the resurgence in the day jobs slackens and of course, we find ourselves with some time on our hands. Locating themselves to a beach cottage in a remote part of the North Wales coastline to write the songs, you can just imagine the beginning of Addiction evolving in these sessions. The album was recorded between lock-downs at the Chapel Studio in Lincolnshire. Accompanied by bassist George Williams and Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros drummer Smiley, the set comfortably achieves Billy Duffy’s desire to produce a simple and direct rock record.
You could never accuse Mike Peters of being anything less than passionate. The same applies to Billy Duffy – in guitar terms naturally. He’s never better than when he’s laying down something from that low-slung axe that might seem so simple yet sends goosebumps and makes the hair stand on end. That’s just what they’ve done on these new songs. Within a few moments, the clarion calls of “Let’s go, let’s go!” and Duffy’s exemplary riffing on Lightning Strike, you know you’re holding a golden ticket.
The duo has seemed to revel in going back to basics, doing what they do best. “This is not The Cult, nor is it The Alarm.” they say. “This is Coloursøund – alive because it exists.” However, all the signature ingredients are there. The duo is the thinking man’s version of Axl and Slash – with integrity. Something confirmed by the sudden acceleration in the outro of the aforementioned Lightning Strikes. The same trick comes with Revelation too.
And it’s not just a flash in the pan. One of those albums where you’re fired up by the single but the album fails to take off. Not one of those albums where they lead with the best tracks then run out of steam. Dare I say, it’s like the England football squad – an embarrassment of riches on the bench. Strength in depth.
Why slows the tempo into a Morricone atmosphere-inspired piece that sways and echoes in reverb before heading into something that crosses punk-lite with anthemic qualities. Start A Fire also diverts in a vaguely blusier direction but these are minor departures from the harder rock vein. We’re soon back on course with a series of classic Duffy riffs and Peters ‘not-quite’ political rabble-rousing. “Hello, hello – your city is united, our differences do not divide us, ” Peters encourages in The Other Side.
It’s left to the downing of the guitar (bar for the chorus that may well have been the starting point for this track) for the duo to sign out with Mourning Call. After sating themselves with an overdose of rock, the swirling psychedelia is a palate cleanser. A snaking groove is a hint of things that might come. The sort of experimentalism that U2 did so well with Achtung Baby and hopefully not another twenty years in the making.
Intriguing. And at a time when Ginger Wildheart is sadly tweeting about talking of quitting the gig/live music scene, Coloursøund could easily offer some redemption for distraught Wildhearts fans. Simply a fantastic rock record.