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Fragile Colours - Album Review: Dancing With The Shadows (In Plato's Cave)

14 Dec 2021 // A review by Cathy Elizabeth

Studio project Fragile Colours released their second album Dancing With The Shadows (In Plato’s Cave) in June 2021, this time featuring Kamaea Harry on vocals. Nine out of the 10 tracks on the album were penned by Tim Julian specifically with Kamaea’s voice in mind after she sang most of the backing vocals on the previous album Southern Utopia.

The song written by Kamaea is the ninth track on the album; a beautiful ballad called Begin Again, penned while she was abroad in France. Tim’s son Joe Julian provided all of the drum tracks, and Sean Bodley’s acoustic and electric guitar playing appeared on several of the songs. Percussion, bass, keyboards and the remaining guitars are courtesy of Tim Julian.

I got lost in this album, it was timeless and sound-scapey and interesting, and it definitely took me on a journey. I don’t often listen to albums from start to finish in these modern-music-media times, so I’m glad I got the opportunity to review this one, and fully enjoy it in its entirety.

Dreamy and whimsical Calling To You From Yesterday opens the album with a laid-back pop vibe. Described as “a look at the kiwi overseas experience and homesickness” it really does have a ‘travelling’ feel to it. I can imagine it accompanied by a clip full of scenes from around the world, on trains and planes, surrounded by crowds of people but feeling that sense of longing for home and loved ones.

The title track Dancing With The Shadows (In Plato’s Cave) is a funky pop number with a bass and synth-driven intro and an upbeat catchy chorus. It’s cool, the mix of genres found on this album, I enjoy that sort of variety in music, both in listening and writing. The bridge is a total departure from the rest of the song, which takes you to some atmospheric, ethereal place, (perhaps inside Plato’s Cave itself) before firing back up into the chorus again to finish. It does exactly what a good bridge should do: takes you somewhere different entirely so that you almost forget, which makes that return to the song all the more satisfying.

I LOVE the intro on Easter so much! A beautiful song and one of my favourites on the album, the other favourite being Free which has quite a theatrical feel to it, mainly piano and vocally driven, and peppered with some unusual twists and turns.

The album production is nicely done and Kamaea’s voice is lovely and sweet. It was a very calming and soothing album on the whole, and there are some interesting flavours sprinkled throughout. I enjoyed the spiritual aspect of some of the themes such as Easter, Infinite Longing, and I AM, but there was nothing cliché or “churchy” about the music itself. In fact, I found it quite quirky and unusual at times.

A project that's been in the making since 2016, (and the previous album was started in the late 80's and included the building of a recording studio!) Julian is clearly a musician who is determined, persistent and patient with his projects, and ends up with a stellar result. Congrats and well done to the whole team!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Fragile Colours

Fragile Colours is a studio only project that began life in the late 1980's - a musical collaboration between Tim Julian and Fred Renata (now an acclaimed cinematographer). The first album Southern Utopia was written during this time, but circumstances dictated that it would not be finished until 2015 when Tim had finished building The Colour Field Recording Studio and found musicians to work with.

The album was well received and subsequently Tim set out to finish a 2nd album, Dancing With The Shadow's (In Plato's Cave), this album features the voice of Kamaea Harry with 9 of the 10 tracks penned by Tim and a beautiful ballad from Kamaea. Work is now progressing on completing a third album of instrumental music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fragile Colours


Southern Utopia
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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