Chaos Wonderland is the seventh full-length album by Colorama, depending on who you believe (it’s the ninth if you include the ‘mini’ albums).
Why Chaos Wonderland? Colorama frontman Carwyn Ellis explains, “well.. I’ve travelled a lot these last few years and I’ve seen a lot of places in total flux, upheaval and yes - chaos. Nowhere more so than at home. But at the same time, I’ve seen much to make me cheerful, not least in the beautiful sights I’ve witnessed, along with the warmth and inherent goodness of the vast majority of people I’ve encountered”.
It was recorded at Shawn Lee’s ‘Shop’ Studio in early 2018, during the gaps in between Ellis’ stints touring around the world with the Pretenders. Shawn Lee has had an incredibly productive (30-odd solo albums to date) career, featuring collaborations with a myriad of different artists including Clutchy Hopkins, Tony Joe White, Darondo, Money Mark, Tommy Guerrero, Psapp, Little Barrie and Saint Etienne, with whom he worked on the ‘Home Counties’ album, which is where he and Carwyn Ellis first worked together, on their 2017 single, ‘Dive’.
With both musicians being prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalists, the album was recorded surprisingly quickly, and with very little added help, although Lay Low, the brilliant Icelandic singer, added her vocal magic to the funky paean to love, ‘Me & She’. Other highlights include ‘Dusty Road’, about an outcast on the run, the cosmic tiki-flavoured ‘Black Hole’, boombastic opener ‘And’ and the smoothly soulful ‘Reconciliation’, which takes on a whole new meaning in the current environment we’ve found ourselves in.
The album was recorded, then Carwyn got inundated with other projects, and time flew by...
Fast forward to 2020. In March, everything ground to a halt for most of us in the UK, including Carwyn. This busiest of musicians now found he had time on his hands and... music to release! So, finally, we have Chaos Wonderland, the ‘new’ album by Colorama.
released July 31, 2020
All songs written by Carwyn Ellis
All instruments played by Carwyn Ellis & Shawn Lee
Lovisa Sigrúnardóttir (Lay Low) - vocals on 'Me & She'
Valerie Etienne - backing vocals on 'Except You' and 'Please Tell Me'
Mason Neely - engineering and percussion on 'And'
Dominic Glover - trumpet on 'Crosville'
Damian Hand - saxophone on 'Except You'
Produced by Shawn Lee
Engineered by Pierre Duplan
Mixed by Shawn Lee & Pierre Duplan at The Shop, London
Mastered by Andrea de Bernardi at Eleven Mastering
Artwork by Bryan Olson
Layout by Sonia Paredero
Art direction by Maki Kita