When I first met Annette in the UK a few years ago when Venus Hum had just started emerging, I heard from her bandmates that she kept a journal and wrote amazing poetic lyrics throughout it. Needless to say I was blown away by the unique collaboration between Annette Strean, Tony Miracle, and Kip Kubin. "Sonic Boom", "Montana", and "Alice" were ravishingly brilliant tracks, so in comparison to this album, I was a bit disappointed. The talent of the group is still there, but it feels more like a B Side, some of the sparkle is gone. What makes The Colours of the Wheel a curious album is the deletion of miscellaneous track numbers, an irony that they may be holding something back that may satisfy a follow up to the energy of "Sonic Boom".
"Birds and Fishes" has a catchy chorus and is one of the star tracks where Annette's vocals soar, as does the mix of "Genevieve's Wheel", it reminded me of why I liked "Alice" from Big Beautiful Sky, the personal sensitivity perhaps. It's tracks like these that you want to follow Annette with as she narrates and weaves with the melody. However, if the poetry gets too fragmented between melody, the listener would tend to drift like on "You Break Me Down", thankfully Tony and Kip work it out with a funky back beat. Overall, I know all three are talented beyond belief, create really cool cover art, and their "mediocre" tracks may put recent pop releases to shame, but I know the trio can do way better. So if you're a first time Hummer, pick up Big Beautiful Sky first as it does the band justice, then you'll be able to understand and appreciate the exploration of melody in The Colours of the Wheel.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield