If you are running out of albums to be reviewed as so many releases are postponed due to Covid-19, this is always a good opportunity to do some minor acts or genres which are not too much in the review focus. With the latest Dramarama album, Color TV, I am heading into the alternative rock genre. The band released this album on 1st May 2020 – very interesting stuff, as it is their first release 15 years after their previous album.
Dramarama – About The Artists
The roots of the band are already in the early 1980’s when Dramarama formed in the basement of a record store in Wayne, New Jersey, North of New York City. The original members were Chris Carter, who also owned that record store, John Easdale, Mark Englert. Soon, Peter Wood and Ron Machauga joined the band. Easdale, Engert and Wood are still in the band’s lineup. They released their debut album, Cinema Verite, in 1985 and constantly published until 1995. The band broke up in 1994 already, though.
However, the band regrouped in 2003, also motivated by the VH1 TV series Bands Reunited. 2005 also featured the band’s last studio album release, Everybody dies. However, the band regularly participated in festivals and had other gigs. Color TV is their ninth album.
Dramarama – Color TV – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 50 minutes
1. Beneath the Zenith
The album start with Beneath the Zenith, which is already one of the best songs of the CD to me. Very melodic, reminds of quite some alternative anthems. Unfortunately, the song is already quite old – I found live recordings of 2011, where the band performed this track already.
2. Up to Here
Up to Here is a bit of a rougher song. Nice recording, though I in general enjoy the more melodic tunes on this album slightly more. The guitar solos on this album are cool, though.
3. The Cassette
The Cassette is rather slow, very melodic, the guitars are much more in the background than in other songs. This leads to a really nice atmosphere. Good song.
4. Swamp Song
The Swamp Song has a slightly swinging melody. I prefer other songs on Color TV, but alternative rock fans will enjoy this track as well.
5. It’s Only Money
The song is going back to a more rhythmic character. The recording feels a bit damped, but the melody is catching and the repetitive parts make it an interesting listen.
6. Abandoned Love
If Abandoned Love feels to remind you of Bob Dylan, this is a cover – which, by the way, the band already played in 2008 tour appearings. Nice version, definitely – and a nice variety of sounds at this position of the album..
7. What’s Your Sign?
This song is having a strong 1990’s alternative rock sound – so the Dramarama fans will definitely smile and think of the good old days.
Though the song starts comparably slow, it is quite powerful . The ballad-alike elments here and there give it a nice character – otherwise, there would be too much of a risk that the song is getting too close to other recordings on the album.
9. Hold Me Tight
Hold Me Tight is another quite slow track, which is very vocal centric. Really enjoy to listen to it.
10. The Only Thing (Stupid / Brilliant)
This guitar and piano track feels very close to Creep by Radiohead to me. The Radiohead classic is a good one – and so is that Dramarama song.
11. You, You, You
The acoustic guitar ballad is adding another facet to the album. Nice.
12. Half Right
The album closes with a slower track, which is back to the standard alternative / rock sound. With its piano in the background, it is a great atomopshere.
Dramarama – Color TV – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget for Color TV:
Dramarama – Color TV – My View
First of all, I am not sure, how much Dramarama fans will celebrate Color TV. On the other hand, the first album after 15 years is definitely worth a beer or two – on the other hand, there are quite some songs, which have been played by the band live on stage significantly earlier. I am not a Dramarama follower, so to me, these twelve songs were new (I did not even know the Bob Dylan original, shame on me…) – and I have to say, I absolutely enjoyed to listen to these 50 versatile minutes of music. Thumbs up, definitely – and a Top Pick! on top of that.
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