Album Review – Chaos Wonderland by Colorama (2020) (Agati)

This is the seventh full length release from the Colorama moniker of Welsh multi instrumentalist, Carwyn Ellis. Until now I have been a ‘very interested’ observer, cherry picking the best of what he had to offer. There were plenty ‘best offerings’.
Somehow, this album resonates with me much more as an entire body of work, than his previous releases. In this world of ADHD, digital streaming music listening, it is rare to find such a fully formed ‘album’. Perhaps not laced with ‘all those’ magical moments, but more naturally fitting together like the perfect aural puzzle, the album excels in two primary aesthetics.
Initially, tracks like And, Dusty Road and Black Hole take the listener on a journey that touches upon the richest side of modern psyche, whilst continuously caressing Ellis’ inevitable left field persona with all manner of sitars, organs and strange, sometimes unidentifiable, instrumentals. It’s the weirder side of mid to late 60’s The Kinks, infused with the most recent of modernity.
Further layers of brilliance are revealed when Ellis strips away most of the strange (it never disappears completely) and toys/twists with the basic essences of guitar-pop sounds.
The natural tendency, when assigning a description, would be to settle upon indie-pop as the natural home for Me & She and Crossville. However, the sound is so sparse and so beautifully simple, that the best of twee inferences are offered and cannot be ignored. Similarly Conchita would be all indie-folk ballad if it was not just so much more beautiful than that. Essentially you have heard the nuances of these tracks before (many times), but Ellis offers them in his own enigmatic manner.
I think I have finally ‘got’ this act and strangely enough it seems that much more of his back catalogue is being ‘revealed’ as I start to feel the definite signs of ‘my latest obsession’ materializing.
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