Living In Colour
The peaks and valleys of daily life inform Shane Nicholson’s ninth studio album. Living in Colour ranges from cynical laments like “Life Ain’t Fine” (a cheeky response to Paul Kelly’s “Life Is Fine”) to small personal victories like “Harvest on Vinyl” (about reacquiring formative albums, including the titular Neil Young classic). But the Central Coast singer-songwriter-producer continues to apply more subtle emotions to his closely observed country tunes, whether looking inwards or at the world around him. Co-written with Leyon Milner, “The High Price of Surviving” sounds optimistic, despite how it mourns the tragic passing of dear friends. “How to Write a Song” mocks the increasing influence of corporate culture and social media on songwriters while also acknowledging the mixed blessing of penning a hit: “If you’re lucky it’ll grow some wings and fly/And you’ll play the damn thing till the day you die.” Through it all, the songs are richly rendered with distinctive arrangements, whether it’s poppy vocal harmonies or old-school barroom piano. Country guitars remain a constant, but as with Nicholson’s true-to-life subject matter, there are many shades of light and dark to explore along the way.